Kuwait Air to end New York service over refusal to carry Israelis

View of empty Kuwait Airways check-in counters at Kuwait Airport on Sunday, March 18, 2012.   (Gustavo Ferrari/ AP Images)

View of empty Kuwait Airways check-in counters at Kuwait Airport, March 18, 2012. (Gustavo Ferrari/ AP Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Kuwait Air is ending its New York to London service over the carrier’s refusal to carry Israeli passengers.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, and has mandated that the airline immediately cease that practice and allow Israeli passengers to travel between the U.S. and London,” Anthony Foxx, the U.S. transportation secretary, said in a statement Friday. “In light of our demands, Kuwait Airways has chosen to cease passenger service from New York JFK airport to London Heathrow by January 18.”

The department had informed Kuwait Air in September that its policies were in violation of U.S. law. The determination came after a complaint by Eldad Gatt, an Israeli citizen who in 2013 wanted to travel on an Israeli passport from New York to London.

In October, Kuwait Air responded to the Department of Transportation saying that Kuwaiti law banned the transport of Israeli citizens and argued that implementing that policy in the United States did not violate U.S. law.

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