A Chinese airline faces a lawsuit after two HIV positive passengers and their HIV negative friend say they were not allowed to board a plane.

According to local media reports, the three men attempted to board a Spring Airlines plane at Shenyang airport, but were not allowed to.

They accuse the budget airline of discrimination, and on Friday, a Shenyang court accepter their case.

According to AFP, the president of the airline Wang Zhenghua announced on Theusday that the company does not discriminate against people living with HIV.

The BBC reports that he blamed “staff anxiety” for the refusal to allow the men to board, and said HIV positive people should not make themselves “overly noticable” to other passengers.

The men, who were boarding a flight to Shijiazhuang on 28 July, said they had informed the airline as they were boarding that two of them were HIV positive, and that after calling for instructions, officials stopped them from boarding.

They say the head office had instructed the staff that they would not transport HIV positive passengers.

Afterwards, their tickets were terminated, and they were unable to negotiate with officials. Instead, they took a train to their destination.

Demanding just under £5,000, the three men also ask for an apology from the airline.

China’s State Council last year published a draft law on its website calling on bathhouse and sauna venues to prominently display signs prohibiting “people with sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and infectious skin diseases” from using the facilities.

The country only lifted a ban on foreign HIV positive people entering the country in 2010.