Kuwait Airways closes LHR-JFK route in discrimination row

16 Dec 2015 by GrahamSmith

Kuwait Airways has pulled its London Heathrow-New York JFK route after the US government threatened legal action over its policy not to sell tickets to Israelis.

In September, the US Transportation Department announced that the carrier broke the law by refusing to sell a ticket on the route to Israeli citizen Eldad Gatt in 2013, reports USA Today.

The following month, the US ordered Kuwait Airways to "cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the US and any third country where they are allowed to disembark".

The airline said it could not sell Gatt a ticket because Kuwaiti law bans its citizens from entering "into an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship".

Therefore, Kuwait Airways argued, its policy "isn't discriminatory because it will sell tickets to passengers regardless of race, national origin or religion – so long as they hold a passport valid in Kuwait".

The case could yet go to court as Kuwait Airways still has a lawsuit filed against the US Transportation Department.

At the moment, however, the airline will continue to operate its thrice-weekly Kuwait City-New York JFK service, with just the second (and final) leg of its thrice weekly Kuwait City-London Heathrow-New York JFK service affected.

Graham Smith

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