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Kuwait Airways scraps New York-London route over banning Israelis

17 December 2015 10:19


Kuwait Airways has canceled its flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow over a law that bans the country from allowing Israelis to use the airline.

The state-owned Kuwaiti Airways informed the US Department of Transportation (DoT) on Tuesday that it had eliminated the route, DoT confirmed on Wednesday.

When trying to book flights from JFK to Heathrow, people have been facing a message on the airline’s website since Tuesday, saying, “Sorry, we were unable to process your request due to either no operating flight or no seats available.”

In 2013, the airways refused to sell a ticket for a flight from New York to London to an Israeli man named Eldad Gatt, saying it was against the Persian Gulf state’s law. Gatt, then, lodged a complaint to the DoT claiming that the airline’s online booking system prevented him from selecting Israel as the place of issue for his passport, calling it “discrimination” against him.

The DoT opened an investigation into his claims that the airline discriminates against Israelis.

In September this year, the DoT released a statement claiming that it had “concluded that Kuwait Airways unreasonably discriminates against” Israelis in its ticketing practices, giving the airline 15 days to outline to the DoT’s Aviation Enforcement Office the steps that it planned to take to come into compliance with US law.

Kuwait, however, said in response that the refusal to sell tickets to Israelis is based on a law approved by the Kuwaiti government stating that “every natural or legal [Kuwaiti] is prohibited to enter into an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel” or with Israelis.

On Oct 29, the DoT ordered the Kuwaiti airline to end its policy against Israelis since it agreed to be bound by the US law when the airline sought flight permit from the United States.

The Persian Gulf state does not have an embassy in Israel, nor does the Israeli regime have one in Kuwait.

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