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Headscarf Row: Air France Female Crew to Skip New Tehran Route


Following the discontent among the stewardesses after Air France ordered them to wear headscarves on reaching Tehran, the airlines said it will allow unwilling staff to opt-out of the flying routes. The airlines will resume its flights to the Iranian capital on April 17.

Last week the management circulated a new rule that required the female staff to wear trousers on the route and a headscarf when they leave the plane after arriving the Tehran airport. This infuriated the airlines staff and they requested the management to go lenient on the rules.

Gilles Gateau, Air France’s human resources director, said on Monday before a meeting with the unions, that he was willing to offer a compromise.

“We’re going to present them with an opt-out clause for any female employee affected on the Paris-Tehran route,” the BBC quoted him as saying. “If for personal reasons, they don’t want to wear the headscarf when they leave the plane, they would be reassigned to another destination.”

Women in Iran are required to cover their hair in public under the law. However, in France wearing religious symbols in public is a contentious issue. The country strives to keep the state and the religious institutions separate.

“This obligation does not apply during the flight and is respected by all international airlines serving the Republic of Iran,” the Reuters quoted the statement issued by Air France on Monday.

A spokesperson for the British Airways, which will resume flights to Tehran from Heathrow in July, said it will also issue instructions for its crew nearer the time.

The Lufthansa Airlines of Germany said its crew followed the rule of covering up their heads and that the airlines did not face any issue.  The airlines continued its services throughout the period of sanctions.

Air France noted over the weekend that the same rule was also applied to the crew on the Saudi Arabia route. Like Iran, it expects women to cover their heads with scarves.

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