Kuwait Airways has once again been accused of discriminating against Israeli citizens by refusing to sell a ticket to an Israeli passport holder who wanted to fly from London to Bangkok via Kuwait. Under Kuwaiti law, however, companies based in the country are banned from doing business with Israel and its citizens.
A lawsuit has recently been filed in the UK on behalf of Orna Schneider, the woman who attempted to buy the ticket to Bangkok. The latest legal action joins a growing list of cases brought against Kuwait Airways in Europe and the United States.
In 2015, the airline decided to end a popular ‘fifth-freedom’ flight between New York JFK and London Heathrow following an order from the Department of Transport (DOT) that ruled Kuwait Airways must sell tickets to Israeli citizens on this route because the policy otherwise breached federal anti-discrimination laws.
“At this point, it is clear that Kuwait Airways’ hatred towards Israelis supersedes its desire to stay in business,” a statement from the Lawfare Project, a legal group that has supported many of the cases brought by Israeli’s against the Kuwaiti flag-carrier.
“If it would simply end its illegal boycott of Israeli passengers, KAC (Kuwait Airways) would be free to fly its planes wherever it wants,” the statement continued.
A year after suspending its New York JFK – London service, Kuwait Airways was also decided to end all of its intra-Europe flights after a similar case was brought against the airline in Switzerland.
In the latest case, the Lawfare Project is arguing that Kuwait Airways is discriminating against a ‘protected group’ under the Equality Act 2010. “If a carrier refused to carry any other minority group in the UK they would be closed down without hesitation,” commented Robert Festenstein, Principal at RHF Solicitors and legal counsel on the case.
Festenstein also said an immediate investigation should be opened into why Heathrow Airport is allowing the alleged discrimination to take place in its terminals.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.