Airport Living

Posted By on Nov 14, 2013 | 0 comments


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I came across this awesome Wikipedia link about notable people living in airports for more than a week. The reasons for their new residence are usually protests, asylum seeking or holiday difficulties.

1. Mehran Karimi Nasseri – 6518 days
Mehran is an Iranian refugee who lived in a departure lounge in France’s largest Airport – Charles de Gaulle Airport. Later on his documents were stolen in Paris en route to the UK and he was refused entry. He lived in the departure lounge from 26 August 1988 to July 2006 when he was hospitalised and then stayed in a hotel by the Red Cross. He then moved to Paris by Emmaus (an international charitable movement founded in Paris to combat poverty and homelessness). His autobiography was published and is the basis of Tom Hanks’ character in the movie The Terminal.

2. Sanjay Shah – 407 days
Sanjay is a former Kenyan national and resided at the Nairobi Airport in Kenya from May 2004 until 12 July 2005. He gave up his Kenyan passport in 2004 and travelled to the UK on a British overseas citizen passport which allows temporary entry but not residence. He was deported back to Kenya where he staged a 13 month protest living in the international area between the departure lounges and the immigration desks. On 12 July 2005 he was given full British citizenship.

3. Zahra Kamalfar – 318 days
Zahra is an Iranian refugee who lived in Russia’s Sheremetyevo International Airport from May/June 2006 until 15 March 2007. She and her family were fleeing execution in Iran and were looking for asylum in Canada. The family was travelling from Russia to Germany when German authorities sent her back to Russia. Russia planned to deport her back to Iran but they did not. Instead she lived in the airport for ten months, and finally went to Canada where she was granted asylum.

4. Mohammed Al Bahish – 224 days
Mohammed is from Iraq and has been at Kazakhstan’s largest international airport, Almaty International Airport, since March 2013. And he is currently still residing there! The reason for him being there is while registering an intention to marry, his refugee travel documents went missing, and his Kazakh and UAE visas expired. He later flew to Turkey in the hope of renewing his Kazakh visa, but was turned back at the border. He has subsequently flown back and forth four times and refused entry by either country.

You can see the list Wikipedia has put together here. Some of the stories are simply because the travellers ran out of money to buy a return ticket. Some of the stories are more newsworthy like that of Edward Snowden.

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