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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Saudi Arabian Airlines to be banned from JFK Airport for discriminating against Israeli nationals?

Saudi Arabian Airlines may be banned from New York's JFK International Airport for discriminating against Israeli nationals.
At a press conference in Times Square Monday, De Blasio said that he sent a letter today urging Khalid Abdullah Almolhem, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, to change the policy or else face consequences.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines uses U.S. airports and yet bans Israeli citizens from being able to fly on their airline,” he said. If  the airline does not change their policy, “we will act to make sure they’re excluded from United States airports, starting with JFK,” De Blasio said.
In addition to JFK, Saudi Airlines also flies out of Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport.
The issue was originally brought to the attention of De Blasio’s office by passengers who attempted to fly the airline, but were rebuffed. An investigation into the matter by his office confirmed the airline’s prejudice. Attempts to book tickets by a staffer in his office posing as an Israeli national both through the airline’s website and over the phone proved the complaints were founded on truth.
In the case of the airline’s website, a drop down menu does not include Israel, though it was otherwise so comprehensive that even Antarctica appeared as an option, though, as De Blasio pointed out, “in fact, there are no citizens of Antarctica.” The faux Israeli staffer was also rebuffed when calling over the telephone to reserve a seat, being told by a ticket agent he could not fly the airline.
The discriminatory practice violates federal law, which says an “air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry,” as well as several New York State laws.
Obviously, this is an old story. But I wonder why any Israeli would want to fly Saudi Airlines. The only place to which they fly from the US is Saudi Arabia and they won't let Israelis off the plane there anyway. I wonder if they'd let an American whose passport was issued in Jerusalem into Saudi Arabia. And whether I could bring my tefillin along.

In the meantime El Al still can't join an airline alliance.

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At 5:40 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Wasn't the earlier version about the shared Delta reservation system? And I remember wondering whether Delta was providing the Saudis with database access to TLV traveller data...

At 11:21 AM, Blogger bluke said...

He was trying to fly through Saudia Arabia to India. Saudia Arabia doesn't require a visa for passengers in transit.


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