Kuwait Airways drops New York-London route to avoid selling tickets to Israelis

The incident revolves around the company's refusal in 2013 to sell a ticket to an Israeli citizen who wanted to fly from New York's JFK airport to Heathrow airport in London.

December 17, 2015 02:36
1 minute read.
Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways. (photo credit: STEVE FITZGERALD/WIKIMEDIA)

Kuwait Airways is eliminating service between New York and London after the US Department of Transportation ordered the carrier to stop refusing to sell tickets to Israelis.

Namrata Kolachalam, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, announced the airline’s decision, USA Today reported Tuesday.

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On September 30, the department announced that the airline had acted illegally when it refused to sell a ticket to Eldad Gatt, an Israeli citizen, in 2013. Gatt wanted to fly from New York's John F. Kennedy to London's Heathrow airport.

On October 29, the department ordered the airline to “cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the U.S. and any third country where they are allowed to disembark,” USA Today reported, citing a letter from the department’s assistant general counsel for enforcement.

The newspaper reported that Kuwait Airways explained its refusal to sell Gatt a ticket by saying it needed to comply with a Kuwaiti law barring citizens from agreements “with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.”

The airline filed a counter suit against the department on November 24, which it has not yet withdrawn. If it prevails, it may resume the New York-London flights.

Kuwait's discriminatory has landed it in hot water in other arenas as well. In October, the country was stripped of its Olympic qualifying status after an Israeli delegate was refused an entry visa in order to participate in the Asian Shooting Championship.

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