Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012

Ahram Weekly

Meat or chicken?

Passengers onboard EgyptAir flights will be served by veiled female attendants for the first time since the carrier began operations 80 years ago, Amirah Ibrahim reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

EgyptAir’s first veiled flight attendants served passengers aboard a scheduled flight to Saudi Arabia. On Saturday the carrier also permitted veiled female attendants to serve two return flights, one from Jeddah, the second from Madinah.  
Some 250 of the 900 female flight attendants employed by EgyptAir have fought a long battle to be allowed to veil at work. Like state-owned television presenters they had been subject to a de facto ban on veiling.
Two months ago flight attendants went on a strike. They presented 22 demands, the majority focussed on improved working conditions and bonus payments. The strike ended after negotiations in which the Aviation Ministry responded to a single demand — not included in the original list — and said henceforth female flight attendants could cover their hair.
According to Minister of Aviation Samir Imbabi negotiations with the EgyptAir administration focussed exclusively on the head scarf.
“I do not think they will change the whole uniform,” he told Al Ahram Weekly. “Nor will this harm business for the national carrier. Many Arab airlines employ veiled female attendants with no problem.”
EgyptAir’s Deputy Chairman Abdel-Aziz Fadel says the company has already commissioned a design company to produce two styles of caps with head scarves. “The initial contract is for 250 pieces,” he said.
The new cap with scarf should be available by mid-December. “Until then female attendants wearing veils will be permitted to fly all Arab routes within our network,” says Fadel. “Later, flights to all international destinations will be served by both veiled and unveiled female attendants.”
Fears have been voiced that by allowing employees to veil EgyptAir may find itself facing escalating demands. Those serving in duty free shops may demand a ban on the sale of alcohol, and veiled attendants could request they only serve routes that do not require them to spend a night away from their families. Women, under a strict interpretation of Islamic rules, should not travel or spend the night alone unless accompanied by a first degree male relative.

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