China’s low cost carrier, Spring Airlines, which was set up in 2005, is currently being sued by two passengers who were refused their right to fly because the airline discovered they were HIV positive.
The two men who were refused entry onto the plane, told the Fazhi Evening Paper, that they were planning to board a flight to Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing, on the 28th of July, however, were instead forced to take a train to their intended destination.
One of the passengers explained to the Fazhi Evening paper what happened; ‘After we got our boarding passes, we informed a Spring Airlines official that some of us had HIV. The official immediately rang up the Shanghai head office for instructions, and then told us the company has rules forbidding the transportation of passengers with HIV.’
According to the AFP news agency, the president of the airline, Wang Zheng, has since stated ‘the company does not discriminate against HIV carriers’ and has instead placed the blame on the staff’s anxiety.
However, the airline will now face having to hand over a compensation fee of 48, 999 yuan (£4, 771, $7, 967), in combination with a official apology.
China, only lifted their long-standing ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the country in 2010. And under Chinese law, airlines can still refuse anyone with an ‘infectious’ condition to fly. However, Liu Wei, who is acting as the victims lawyer in this particular case, has stated that ‘the airline had no evidence which could prove the passengers were able to infect anyone else’.