List of people who have lived at airports

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This is a list of people notable for living for periods of more than a week in airports. The reasons are usually protests, asylum seeking or holiday difficulties.

People who have lived at airports[edit]

  Currently in the airport

Profile Name Original nationality Location Period Duration Reason for stay Reason for leaving
MKNasseri.jpg Mehran Karimi Nasseri Iran Iranian[1] Charles de Gaulle Airport, France [2] 26 August 1988 – July 2006[1] 6518 – 6548 days
(17.84 – 17.93 years)
He was exiled from Iran and later his documents were stolen in Paris en route to the United Kingdom. He was refused entry.[2] He was hospitalised, stayed in hotel by Red Cross and then moved to Paris by Emmaus.[2]
Default-avatar.jpg Denis Luiz de Souza Brazil Brazilian São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil[3] Circa 2000 – today[3] 17–18 years (roughly) After frequent conflicts at home, he decided to take refuge in the airport. He seems to suffer from psychological problems to this date.[3] Still lives in the airport, but comes out occasionally.[3]
Default-avatar.jpg Sanjay Shah Kenya Kenyan Nairobi Airport, Kenya[4] May 2004 – 12 July 2005[4] 407 – 437 days
(1.11 – 1.20 years)
He tried to enter the United Kingdom on a British Overseas citizen passport but was barred entry. He had already handed in his Kenyan Passport and upon return to Nairobi began protesting.[4] He obtained full British citizenship.[4]
Default-avatar.jpg Zahra Kamalfar Iran Iranian Sheremetyevo International Airport, Russia[5] May–June 2006 – 15 March 2007[5] 258 - 318 days She and her family were fleeing persecution in Iran and seeking asylum in Canada.[5] Their asylum was granted by the Canadian government.[5]
Default-avatar.jpg Tetsuya Abo Japan Japanese Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia[6] 29 May 2015 - 9 August 2015[7] 185 days Abo claimed to be a journalist, and he also claimed that his seeking aslyum was politically motivated. He hoped to receive Russian citizenship.[6] He was denied political asylum in Russia.[7]
Default-avatar.jpg Mohammed Al Bahish IraqState of PalestineIraqi-Palestinian Almaty International Airport, Almaty, Kazakhstan[8] March 20, 2013 – August 17, 2013 150 days In Kazakhstan, while registering intention to marry, his refugee travel documents went missing, and his Kazakh and Emirati visas expired. He later flew to Turkey in the hope of renewing his Kazakh visa, but was turned back at the border. Subsequently flown back and forth 4 times and refused entry by either country. Was allowed to go to a UNHCR refugee transit centre in Timisoara, Romania, and later granted asylum in Finland.[9]
Default-avatar.jpg Hiroshi Nohara Japan Japanese Mexico City International Airport, Mexico[10] 2 September 2008 – 28 December 2008[10][11] 117 days Nohara declined to give his reasons.[11] He left with a woman identified as Oyuki.[11]
Default-avatar.jpg Hassan Al Kontar Syria Syrian Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang, Malaysia 7 March 2018 – now 104 days He was deported to Malaysia in 2017 after UAE authorities cancelled his visa and work permit. During his stay in Malaysia, he tried to save money to buy a plane ticket to Ecuador, but was turned away by Turkish Airlines staff. He then tried to fly to Cambodia after overstaying his Malaysian visa, but was denied entry and deported for not having sufficient amounts of cash. Currently in the transit zone and can't leave the airport after being banned from re-entry for 5 years. The Malaysian government was considering allowing re-entry into the country on humanitarian grounds, but refused since Malaysia hasn't signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Default-avatar.jpg Ahmed Kannan State of Palestine Palestinian Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang, Malaysia[12] 21 May 2013 – 13 July 2013 [13] 114 days Arrived without passport because it had been confiscated in Turkey. After having overstayed during May 2013 in Malaysia, he had flown from Kuala Lumpur to Turkey, but without a Turkish visa. His passport was seized by Turkish immigration and he was deported back to Kuala Lumpur. Released at 16:00 (UTC+8) on 13 July 2013. Granted 30-days Malaysian visa on humanitarian grounds.[13]
Yvonne Paul (1967).jpg Yvonne Paul Netherlands Dutch Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands October 1967 – 5 January 1968[14] 66 – 96 days She wanted to return to the United States.[14] She was arrested.[14]
FengZhenghu ChineseTShirt.JPG Feng Zhenghu China Chinese[15] Narita International Airport, Japan[15] 9 November 2009 – 3 February 2010[15][16] 86 days He began protesting after being refused re-entry into China.[15] He was visited by several Chinese diplomats and entered Japan with anticipation of being allowed to re-enter Shanghai by mid-February. This later occurred although he is now under house-arrest at his Shanghai apartment.[16][17]
Default-avatar.jpg Khasan Aman Ando, Gulistan Issa Shakho, and four children Syria Syrian Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia[18] 10 September 2015 – 20 November 2015[19] 71 days Family of Kurdish refugees fleeing the war in Iraq who intended to seek asylum in Russia. After being initially denied entry into the country, they remained at the airport.[19][18] The family was moved to a facility for temporary accommodation while they await further processing of their asylum application.[19]
Edward Snowden.jpg Edward Snowden United States American Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia[20] 23 June 2013 – 1 August 2013 [21] 39 days When Snowden boarded a flight to Moscow-Sheremetyevo, authorities revoked his U.S. passport. Granted temporary asylum in Russia.[22]
Picture of Iyad el-Baghdadi.jpg Iyad El-Baghdadi State of Palestine Palestinian Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia[23] 13 May 2014 – 8 June 2014[23][24] 26 days He was deported to Malaysia by the UAE, choosing this over being detained there indefinitely without formal charges. He was then denied entry at the Kuala Lumpur airport due to the fact that he had no official/formal documents.[24] The Palestinian Embassy issued him a passport, and officials in Kuala Lumpur admitted him into the country.[24]
Default-avatar.jpg Gary Peter Austin United Kingdom British Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippines[25] 19 December 2012 – 11 January 2013[26] 23 days He missed his flight. He had run out of money to book a new flight.[27] Donors paid for a ticket back to the United Kingdom.[28]
Default-avatar.jpg Heinz Müller Germany German Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, Brazil October 16–29, 2009[29] 13 days He flew to Rio de Janeiro to meet with a woman he met online, but she did not show up. He ran out of money and ended up in Campinas.[29] He was taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Stranded at the Airport". Snopes. 2 July 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mehran Karimi Nasseri – In Transit". h2g2. BBC. May 28, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d "15 anos vivendo no aeroporto" (in Portuguese). El País (Brazilian Edition). 21 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d Mynott, Adam (12 July 2005). "Kenya airport dweller is British". BBC News. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Emotional reunion for Iranian family at Vancouver airport". CBC News. 15 March 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "Japanese Journalist Lives in Moscow Airport, Wants Russian Citizenship". 31 July 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Japanese Blogger Flies Home After Spending 2 Months in Moscow Airport | News". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  8. ^ "Life in transit: What is it like to live in an airport?". BBC. July 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Marooned at an airport... then what?". BBC. December 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Japan Tourist Extends Layover at Mexico Airport: 85 Days So Far". 26 November 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c "Man living at Mexico airport has a new home". NBC News. 31 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "22-year-old Palestinian stuck at airport for more than 50 days". The Star. July 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Exclusive: Ahmed's ordeal over as he is allowed to re-enter Malaysia". The Star. 14 July 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c "Yvonne Paul: "Ik blijf" (in Dutch)". 2012-05-04. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Chinese human rights activist stuck at Tokyo airport". The Guardian. London. Associated Press, Tokyo. 13 November 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "Chinese man who spent 3 months in Tokyo airport to leave". Associated Press via Saudi Gazette. 3 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. 
  17. ^ Kurtenbach, Elaine (13 February 2010). "Chinese activist allowed to return home after 3 months at Tokyo airport". The Washington Post. 
  18. ^ a b Ellis, Ralph; Tawfeeq, Mohammed (30 October 2015). "Kurdish family stuck in Moscow airport". CNN. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c Lokshina, 17 December 2015 (30 November 2015). "A refugee family's ordeal in Russia". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  20. ^ "Moscow airport source confirms Snowden arrived on Sunday". Reuters. June 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Snowden in Moscow: What Russian Authorities Might Be Doing With the NSA Whistle-Blower". Time. 10 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "Statement on Snowden's Successful Russian Asylum Bid". WikiLeaks. August 1, 2013. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "How the UAE Tried to Silence a Popular Arab Spring Activist". 21 October 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c "Human Rights Activist Iyad El-Baghdadi Speaks Out on His Deportation from UAE". Global Voices. 30 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "The Terminal, PH Version". Rappler. 10 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Stranded Brit flies home". Philippine Star. 12 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "Stranded Briton heads home after 22 days at Naia; kind Filipinos fed him". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 10 January 2013. 
  28. ^ "Dutch chef saves Briton". Manila Standard Today. 12 January 2013. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. 
  29. ^ a b c "Headline: Ex-Pilot Lives in Brazilian Airport After Being Dumped". AOL Travel. 2 November 2012.