Monday, October 31, 2011

Azerbaijan Airline Bans Entry for Passengers with Armenian Surnames

Sergey Gyurdzhian, a Russian citizen, was prohibited from boarding a flight of AZAL (Azerbaijan Airlines) at the Domodedovo Airport in Moscow because of his Armenian ethnic origin. Gyurdzhian, the head of the export sales at AvtoVAZ, a major Russian car manufacturing company, intended to visit Azerbaijan to negotiate a contract for the supply of LADA cars. The airline employees prohibited him from boarding, explaining they have an order not to register passengers who have Armenian surnames. Gyurdzhian’s colleague, a citizen of Israel, attempted to object to what he believed was “racial discrimination;” as a result, he was denied entry, too. The incident is not unique: there are numerous reports of prohibiting Russian citizens of Armenian origin from boarding Azeri flights, entering the country upon arriving at an Azeri airport, and crossing the Azeri border on a train.

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