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Kuwait Airways cancels JFK–LHR route following discrimination against Israelis

17 Dec 2015 by Clement Huang
Kuwait Airways has made the controversial decision to cancel its New York JFK–London Heathrow route, after the US Department of Transportation (DOT) found it guilty of illegally discriminating and refusing to sell tickets to Israelis. The DOT launched an investigation earlier this year when an Israeli citizen alleged that Kuwait Airways prevented him from purchasing a ticket for travel on a flight from JFK International Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Upon reviewing the case, the US authority concluded on September 30 that Kuwait Airways “unreasonably discriminated against [the individual in question and was] in violation of US Code – Section 41310 by refusing to sell him a ticket on its flight from JFK to LHR.” The code denotes that “[a]n air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person, place, port, or type of traffic in foreign air transportation to unreasonable discrimination.” USA Today, citing a letter from the DOT assistant general counsel, reported further on October 29 that Kuwait Airways has been ordered by the department to “cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the US and any third country where they are allowed to disembark.” Kuwait Airways has since attempted to defend itself by arguing that it had to comply with Kuwait law, which barred citizens from agreements “with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.” The cancellation of the route was announced earlier this week when DOT spokeswoman Namrata Kolachalam confirmed: “Today, Kuwait Airways informed the US DOT that they will be eliminating service between JFK and LHR.” Bookings for the service are no longer possible through the carrier’s website. However, it should be noted that the cancellation only affects the JFK–LHR service, and not Kuwait Airways’ existing three-times weekly Kuwait City–JFK operation. For more information, visit kuwaitairways.com Clement Huang
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