Dept. of Transportation Blames Kuwait Airlines for Anti-Semitism

KUWAIT-AIRWAYSThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ordered the Kuwait Airlines Company (KAC) to “cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the U.S. and any third country where they are allowed to disembark based on the laws of that country.”

On September 30, DOT sent KAC a warning letter following the latter’s refusal to sell Israeli Eldad Gatt a ticket for travel from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR):

KAC has chosen to operate an air route between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In so doing, the airline has availed itself of the facilities and benefits of the U.S. and must comply with its laws. One of those laws is 49 U.S.C. § 41310, which prohibits “unreasonable discrimination” in foreign air transportation. Our determination that KAC’ decision to refuse to sell Mr. Gatt a ticket on its flight from JFK to LHR is not rational or reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances is consistent with the letter and spirit of that provision.

The claims in KAC’s response letter, sent on October 13, were rejected by DOT:

We have reviewed KAC’s arguments challenging that decision and requesting reconsideration. Your October 13 letter adds no new information or arguments that persuade us to change our determination. Accordingly, we see no reason to reconsider this matter. Our September 30 letter to KAC concluding that the carrier unreasonably discriminated against Mr. Gatt under 49 U.S.C. § 41310 is a final agency decision.

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