List of people who have lived in airports

This is a list of people notable for living for periods of more than a week in airports. The reasons are usually protesting, asylum seeking or having holiday difficulties, having difficulty with visas and passports.

List of residents

  Currently in the airport

This is a list of notable people who have been living in airports around the world.

Name Profile Original nationality Location Period Duration Reason for stay Reason for leaving
Mehran Karimi Nasseri   Iranian[1] Charles de Gaulle Airport, France[2] 26 August 1988 – July 2006[1]
Mid-September - 12 November 2022[3]
6518–6548 days
(17.84–17.93 years)
Up to 60 days on the 2nd stay.
Originally from Iran, was given refugee status by UNHCR and claimed that his documents were stolen in Paris en route to the United Kingdom. He was refused entry and declined new papers due to changing his own name and place of birth.[2]
He became homeless again in 2022 and died later that year of a heart attack.[3]
Hospitalised, stayed in hotel by Red Cross and was then moved to Paris by Emmaus.[2]
For his second stay, he died of a heart attack.[3]
Denis Luiz de Souza Brazilian São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil[4] Circa 2000–Present[4] 8960 days (approximately 23–24 years; exact dates unknown) Had frequent conflicts at home, deciding to take refuge in the airport. Seems to suffer from psychological problems.[4] Still lives in the airport, but comes out occasionally.[4]
Zahra Kamalfar Iranian Sheremetyevo International Airport, Russia[5] May–June 2006 – 15 March 2007[5] 258–318 days Fleeing persecution in Iran with her family using falsified documents to seek asylum in Canada via Germany and Russia. The documents were rejected by German authorities and she was returned to Russia.[5] Asylum was granted by the Canadian government.[5]
Tetsuya Abo Japanese Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia[citation needed] 29 May 2015 – 9 August 2015[6] 72 days Claimed to be a journalist, and that his seeking asylum was politically motivated. Hoped to receive Russian citizenship.[citation needed] Denied political asylum in Russia.[6]
Arlen Khadaa Kyrgyzstani-Soviet Manas International Airport, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan[7] January 19, 2019 – October 8, 2020[8] 628 days Lost Soviet citizenship at dissolution of the USSR. Was rejected Norwegian residence permit and citizenship and returned to Kyrgyzstan.[9] Sent to Norway October 8 of 2020.
Mohammed Al Bahish Iraqi-Palestinian Almaty International Airport, Almaty, Kazakhstan[10] March 20 – 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. Later flew to Turkey in the hope of renewing his Kazakh visa, but was turned back at the border. Subsequently, flown back and forth four times and refused entry by either country. Allowed to go to a UNHCR refugee transit centre in Timișoara, Romania, and later granted asylum in Finland.[11]
Hiroshi Nohara Japanese Mexico City International Airport, Mexico[12] 2 September – 28 December 2008[12][13] 117 days Declined to give his reasons.[13] Left with a woman identified as Oyuki.[13]
Ahmed Kannan Palestinian Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang, Malaysia[14] 21 May – 13 July 2013[15] 53 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 on 13 July 2013. Granted 30-days Malaysian visa on humanitarian grounds.[15]
Yvonne Paul   Dutch Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands 11th October 1967 – 5 January 1968[16] 86 days Previously lived in the USA, and had been deported as a result of expiring immigration documents. Set up a temporary base in Schiphol Airport whilst attempting to get new immigration documents. After a formal request to vacate was ignored, arrested on the 5th of January 1968.[16]
Feng Zhenghu   Chinese[17] Narita International Airport, Japan[17] 9 November 2009 – 3 February 2010[17][18] 86 days Began protesting after being refused re-entry into China.[17] 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.[18][19]
Khasan Aman Ando, Gulistan Issa Shakho, and four children Syrian Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia[20] 10 September 2015 – 20 November 2015[21] 71 days Family of Kurdish refugees fleeing the Iraqi Civil War who intended to seek asylum in Russia. After being initially denied entry into the country, they remained at the airport.[21][20] The family was moved to a facility for temporary accommodation while they await further processing of their asylum application.[21][needs update]
Edward Snowden   American Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia[22] 23 June – 1 August 2013[23] 39 days While on a flight to Moscow-Sheremetyevo, authorities revoked Snowden's U.S. passport. Granted temporary asylum in Russia.[24] Later received Russian citizenship.[25]
Iyad El-Baghdadi   Palestinian Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia[26] 13 May – 8 June 2014[26][27] 26 days Deported to Malaysia by the UAE, not wanting to be detained there indefinitely without formal charges. Was then denied entry at the Kuala Lumpur airport because he had no official documents.[27] The Palestinian Embassy issued him a passport, and officials in Kuala Lumpur admitted him into the country.[27] He then left Malaysia for Norway, applying for political asylum.
Gary Peter Austin British Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippines[28] 19 December 2012 – 11 January 2013[29] 23 days Missed his flight. He had run out of money to book a new flight.[30] Donors paid for a ticket back to the United Kingdom.[31]
Heinz Müller German Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, Brazil October 16–29, 2009[32] 13 days Flew to Rio de Janeiro to meet with a woman he met online, who did not show up. Ran out of money and ended up in Campinas.[32] Taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.[32]
Hassan Al Kontar Syrian Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang, Malaysia[33] 7 March – 1 October 2018 208 days Deported to Malaysia in 2017 after overstaying in the UAE for 5 years. During his stay, he saved money to buy a plane ticket to Ecuador, but was turned away by Turkish Airlines staff for unexplained reasons. He then attempted to fly to Cambodia after overstaying his Malaysian visa, but was denied entry and deported. Briefly detained by Malaysian immigration authorities for two months until his asylum request was granted by the Canadian government.[34]
Liu Xinglian and Yan Kefen Chinese Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan 27 September 2018 – 30 January 2019 125 days Were trying to seek asylum in Taiwan during their transit, but they were refused for entry while their asylum applications were being considered by Taiwanese authorities.[35][36] Allowed to enter Taiwan on 30 January 2019.[37]
Eissa Muhamad Nigerien Addis Ababa, International Airport[38] November 2018[38] – August 2019[39] 300 days (approximately; exact dates unknown) Expelled from Israel after being caught without proper documents. On his way back to Niger, he transited to Addis Ababa. Niger refused to let him in, claiming the temporary travel documents Israel gave him were fake. He got stuck in Addis Ababa, where neither Israel nor Niger would take him back.[38] Apparently now living in Senegal.[39]
Bayram Tepeli Turkish Atatürk Airport[40] 1991–2019[40] 9862 days (approximately 27 years; exact dates unknown) Ran away from family problems and worked at the airport for a while. Eventually became sick, and could not work anymore, but decided to keep living at the airport.[40] Airport closed for commercial passenger travel in 2019, so he had to leave.[40] Now lives in Sabiha Gökçen Airport.[41]
Bayram Tepeli Turkish Sabiha Gokcen Airport 2019 – Present 1825 days Ran away from family problems and worked at the airport for a while. Eventually became sick, and could not work anymore, but decided to keep living at the Ataturk Airport. After airport closed for commercial passenger travel in 2019, he had been living in Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Still living in airport.
Wei Jianguo Chinese Beijing Capital International Airport[42] Circa 2008 – Present[42] 6038 days (approximately 15–16 years; exact dates unknown) Wanted to smoke and drink without his family bothering him. Also had difficulty finding work.[42] Still lives in the airport, but comes out occasionally.[42]
Bahareh Zare Bahari Iranian Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila[43] 17 October – 6 November 2019[44][45] 20 days Detained upon return to the Philippines from a trip to Dubai after Iran sought her via an Interpol Red Notice[46]

The Philippine justice department recognized Bahari as a refugee on 6 November.[45]

Edgard Ziebart German Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi[47] 18 March – 12 May 2020[48] 55 days Prevented from embarking on the last leg of his flight when India imposed restrictions amid the coronavirus crisis. Refused German Embassy evacuation flights, fearing prosecution for criminal offences.[48] Left on a KLM repatriation flight to Amsterdam.[48]
Aditya Singh Indian O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, United States[49] 19 October 2020 – 16 January 2021[49] 89 days Decided not to take his connecting flight to India due to fear of COVID-19.[50] Arrested in January 2021, cleared of charges in late 2021.[49][50]
Déo Hasabumutima Burundian Istanbul Airport, Istanbul, Turkey[51] 16 June 2021 – 7 July 2021[51] 21 days On a transit from Niamey, Niger, he was refused boarding on a flight to Toronto, Canada because his Burundian passport was expired, despite possessing a valid Canadian permanent resident card. He received assistance from the Canadian authorities.[52]
Lisa Lee Wink Canadian Cancún International Airport, Cancún, Mexico 13 April 2023 – 15 May 2023 32 days Unknown[53] Deported for aggressive behavior against other passengers.[54]

See also



  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 "Iranian refugee who inspired Spielberg's film 'The Terminal' dies inside Paris airport". CNN. 13 November 2022. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "15 anos vivendo no aeroporto" (in Portuguese). El País (Brazilian Edition). 21 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Emotional reunion for Iranian family at Vancouver airport". CBC News. 15 March 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Japanese Blogger Flies Home After Spending 2 Months in Moscow Airport". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  7. ^ "Stateless man trapped at Manas airport in Bishkek for 4 months". AKIpress. 8 April 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Stateless man living in secure zone of Manas airport for 3 months". 24KG. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Strandet på flyplassen i Kirgisistan" (in Norwegian). NRK. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Life in transit: What is it like to live in an airport?". BBC News. July 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Marooned at an airport... then what?". BBC. December 4, 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Japan Tourist Extends Layover at Mexico Airport: 85 Days So Far". 26 November 2008.
  13. ^ a b c "Man living at Mexico airport has a new home". NBC News. 31 December 2008.
  14. ^ "22-year-old Palestinian stuck at airport for more than 50 days". The Star. 13 July 2013. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Exclusive: Ahmed's ordeal over as he is allowed to re-enter Malaysia". The Star. 14 July 2013. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  16. ^ a b "Yvonne Paul: "Ik blijf"" (in Dutch). 2012-05-04. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04.
  17. ^ a b c d "Chinese human rights activist stuck at Tokyo airport". The Guardian. London. Associated Press, Tokyo. 13 November 2009.
  18. ^ a b "Chinese man who spent 3 months in Tokyo airport to leave". Saudi Gazette. Associated Press. 3 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  19. ^ Kurtenbach, Elaine (13 February 2010). "Chinese activist allowed to return home after 3 months at Tokyo airport". The Washington Post.
  20. ^ a b Ellis, Ralph; Tawfeeq, Mohammed (30 October 2015). "Kurdish family stuck in Moscow airport". CNN. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  21. ^ a b c Lokshina, 17 December 2015 (30 November 2015). "A refugee family's ordeal in Russia". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 December 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ "Moscow airport source confirms Snowden arrived on Sunday". Reuters. June 25, 2013.
  23. ^ "Snowden in Moscow: What Russian Authorities Might Be Doing With the NSA Whistle-Blower". Time. 10 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Statement on Snowden's Successful Russian Asylum Bid". WikiLeaks. August 1, 2013. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013.
  25. ^ "Putin grants Russian citizenship to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden". Reuters. September 26, 2022. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "How the UAE Tried to Silence a Popular Arab Spring Activist". The Intercept. 21 October 2014.
  27. ^ a b c "Human Rights Activist Iyad El-Baghdadi Speaks Out on His Deportation from UAE". Global Voices. 30 October 2014.
  28. ^ "The Terminal, PH Version". Rappler. 10 January 2013.
  29. ^ "Stranded Brit flies home". Philippine Star. 12 January 2013.
  30. ^ "Stranded Briton heads home after 22 days at Naia; kind Filipinos fed him". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 10 January 2013.
  31. ^ "Dutch chef saves Briton". Manila Standard Today. 12 January 2013. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014.
  32. ^ a b c "Headline: Ex-Pilot Lives in Brazilian Airport After Being Dumped". AOL Travel. 2 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-07-19.
  33. ^ "This Syrian man has been stuck in an airport for months". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  34. ^ "Syrian refugee stranded in airport for months is granted asylum in Canada". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  35. ^ "Two Chinese Asylum-Seekers Stranded in Taiwan's Airport After Claim". Radio Free Asia. 1 October 2018.
  36. ^ "2中國男滯留桃機9天 陸委會尚未決定去留". Apple Daily (in Chinese). 5 October 2018.
  37. ^ "【獨家】滯留桃機125天終圓夢 2中國異議人士昨深夜入境台灣". Apple Daily (in Chinese). 31 January 2019.
  38. ^ a b c Igunza, Emmanuel (18 February 2019). "Israel deportee marooned in airport for months". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  39. ^ a b "Personal Twitter Account". Twitter. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  40. ^ a b c d "Terminal date close for man who has lived in Atatürk Airport for 27 years". DailySabah. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  41. ^ "27 yıldır havaalanında ama hiç uçağa binmedi". (in Turkish). Retrieved 2019-11-12.
  42. ^ a b c d Weiyi, Qiu. "Displaced residents find warmth, shelter at Beijing airport - EUROPE -". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  43. ^ Fullerton, Jamie (6 November 2019). "'Losing my mind': former beauty queen pursued by Iran fears for her health". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-06 – via
  44. ^ Helen Regan and Joshua Berlinger. "Beauty queen says she will be killed if she is deported to Iran". CNN. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  45. ^ a b Fonbuena, Carmela (2019-11-09). "Philippines grants asylum to Iranian woman held in airport". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  46. ^ "Beauty queen trapped in airport for two weeks". NewsComAu. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  47. ^ Srivastava, Anvit (12 May 2020). "German man living at Delhi airport since March 18 leaves for Amsterdam on a relief flight". Hindustan Times. New Delhi. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  48. ^ a b c "German man stuck 2 months in Indian airport". Deutsche Welle. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  49. ^ a b c Gutowski, Christy. "Man lived inside O'Hare for 3 months before detection, prosecutors say". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  50. ^ a b "Man who lived at O'Hare for 3 months without detection cleared of trespassing charges". Chicago Tribune. 2021-10-27. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  51. ^ a b Schué, Romain (1 July 2021). "Un résident canadien coincé depuis deux semaines dans une zone de transit d'aéroport". Radio-Canada. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  52. ^ Schué, Romain (8 July 2021). "(MAJ) Au lendemain de questions posées au ministre des Affaires étrangères, Marc Garneau, ce résident canadien a eu, enfin, des nouvelles d'Immigration Canada. Hier, après 21 jr dans une zone de transit de l'aéroport d'Istanbul, Deo Hasabumutima a pu prendre l'avion vers le 🇨🇦". Retrieved 2022-03-26.
  53. ^ "Canadian woman has lived for 15 days in the Cancún airport". Vallarta Daily. April 28, 2023. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  54. ^ "Concluye historia de canadiense". issuu. May 15, 2023. Retrieved July 11, 2024.