More than 10 flight attendants submitted requests to EgyptAir to grow their beards, Flight Attendants Syndicate Chief Mahmoud Khairy said on Tuesday.
One flight attendant managed to obtain a court ruling in his favor, he said, adding that flight attendants will seek to implement their demands without resorting to strikes.
Asked about pressure to ban alcohol on airplanes, Khairy said that drinking alcohol has been prohibited on EgyptAir flights for 20 years. Some foreign companies have had problems with drunk passengers, which he said shows that banning alcohol on airplanes is a safer practice.
Concerning veiled female flight attendants, Khairy said that flight attendants who got approval from the Minister of Aviation to wear the hijab should have no problem carrying out the duties of their job, such as helping a sick man on board.
Since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak, the country has been witnessing growing Islamist sentiment. The rising popularity of Islamists led them to win the majority in Parliament, which was later dissolved.
A standoff erupted in March between bearded police officers and then-Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim. Ibrahim referred 17 bearded officers to a disciplinary board according to Article 67 of the Police Law, which authorizes him to do so for the public good.
Growing a beard and shaving one’s mustache is a habit followed by some religious Muslims who believe in keeping the same customs as Prophet Mohamed and his companions.
The syndicate chief apologized for inconveniencing EgyptAir passengers who were harmed by the strike staged by the company’s flight attendants and added that the protesters had legitimate demands.
Roshdy Zakaria, chairman of EgyptAir’s board, said the company is designing a hijab for flight attendants after it was approved for female flight attendants.
Female EgyptAir flight attendants staged a strike last September demanding the right to wear the headscarf.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm