emirates plane 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – Following criticism and direct intervention from the city’s mayor,
Transport for London (TfL) has removed a controversial clause in a deal with the
Emirates airline that many interpreted as an effort to exclude Israeli
The clause in a 36 million pound agreement with Emirates
meant that the Thames cable car project – known as the Emirates Air Line – would
not be able to receive funding from Israeli financial institutions or be able to
sell a majority stake to Israeli-owned businesses.
TfL, the body
responsible for the transport system in Greater London, is in charge of the
cable car project, which runs from Greenwich in southeast London to the Royal
Docks in the eastern part of the city.
“We have agreed with Emirates that
this clause should be removed from the contract,” said Danny Price, TfL’s head
of the Emirates Air Line, on Tuesday.
“The intention behind it was always
to give Emirates the option to withdraw their sponsorship, should we sell it to
someone else, something which is common in such contracts,” he
“We will work on alternative wording to express this in these
simple terms. Moreover, we cannot foresee any circumstances in which we would
sell the Emirates Air Line.”
On Monday, London Mayor Boris Johnson
intervened and asked TfL commissioner Peter Hendy to deal with the
“The mayor was unaware of the clause in question, the details
having been drawn up by TfL officials. When he was told about the clause
yesterday, he asked Sir Peter to speak to Emirates,” the mayor’s spokesman said
“Following those discussions, Emirates agreed to remove the
clause and rework the wording.”
The spokesman added that Johnson was
pleased Emirates moved quickly to clarify the situation.
A spokesman for
the airline said the organization does not discriminate against others and did
not intend this with the clause.
“The clause in the contract with TfL was
put in place to protect the commercial interests of the Emirates brand. It was
not intended to discriminate against any particular person, religion or country.
Given the misinterpretation of this clause, Emirates has agreed to remove it,”
the spokesman said.
“Emirates, a global multicultural, multimedia
company, does not discriminate against passengers of any race, people or
religion. Emirates is proud to employ people from over 160 nationalities and
connect people from all backgrounds across our international
The Zionist Federation of the UK welcomed the
“Thankfully, this oversight has not had any lasting effect on the
important trading relationship between the UK and Israel,” said Zionist
Federation chairman Paul Charney.
“I would like to thank Sir Peter for
urgently resolving this matter. We must remain vigilant against any back-door
attempts to boycott Israel in the UK.”