Kuwait Airways ends London to New York flights after discrimination complaint

Kuwait Airways drops London to New York flights to avoid selling tickets to Israelis

Kuwait Airways has scrapped flights between London Heathrow and New York so that it does not have to sell tickets to Israeli passengers.

The airline is no longer selling tickets for seats on the service between Heathrow and JFK airport after US authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.

The airline has in the past defended its actions by saying that it was merely obeying Kuwaiti law, prohibiting all commercial relations with Israeli entities, residents or nationals.

A survey by Telegraph Travel this morning found that no seats were available on the Kuwait Airways website from Monday next week, or during dates in 2016.

Search results bring up an error message that states: “Sorry, we were unable to process your request due to either no operating flight or no seats available. Please select a different search option.”
In February this year, the airline made headlines when it refused to sell a ticket to a woman from New York because she held an Israeli passport.

Then in September, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) sent a letter to the airline warning it to end what it said amounted to discrimination, citing a complaint from Eldad Gatt. Mr Gatt said he had tried to buy a ticket for a flight from JFK to Heathrow but had been prevented from doing so because of his Israeli passport.

Kuwait Airways states that it did not sell a ticket to Mr. Gatt because of a Kuwaiti law which states, in part, 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 Israeli citizenship.”

Then in September, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) sent a letter to the airline warning it to end what it said amounted to discrimination, citing a complaint from Eldad Gatt. Mr Gatt said he had tried to buy a ticket for a flight from JFK to Heathrow but had been prevented from doing so because of his Israeli passport.

Kuwait Airways states that it did not sell a ticket to Mr. Gatt because of a Kuwaiti law which states, in part, 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 Israeli citizenship.”

But the DoT concluded that this is not a proper justification for the denial of air transportation.

It confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that state-owned Kuwait Airways had a day earlier informed authorities that it would eliminate the route.

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