After the United States’ government threatened Kuwait Airways with legal action for refusing to sell tickets to Israelis, the Gulf state’s national carrier responded by cancelling all operations between New York’s JFK airport to London Heathrow.
"Today, Kuwait Airways informed the U.S. Department of Transportation that they will be eliminating service between JFK and London Heathrow," USA Today quoted Namrata Kolachalam, a department spokeswoman, as saying.
It all began in 2013, when an Israeli citizen Eldad Gatt complained to the U.S. authorities that he tried to buy a ticket from John F. Kennedy airport to Heathrow, but couldn’t do so because the airline’s online booking system prevented him from selecting Israel as his passport issuing country.
Gatt’s complaint set off an investigation, which determined in September that the airline broke U.S. anti-discrimination law.
Subsequently, in October, the DOT ordered Kuwait Airways to end its discriminatory policy; however, the carrier maintained its stance, saying Kuwaiti law barring citizens from “an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.”
Apart from Kuwait Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Gulf air, principal flag carrier of Bahrain, do not accept Israeli passengers.
In 2013, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, then the city’s public advocate, threatened to pull Saudi Arabian Airlines over its anti-Israel policy.
“No city in the world has closer ties to Israel than [New York], and yet, Israeli citizens are being discriminated against right here on our doorstep," de Blasio said in a statement. "It is not only illegal, it’s an affront to who we are. We won’t stop with just exposing these practices. We’ll pursue this with authorities in Albany and in Washington until Israeli nationals’ rights are respected.”
However, the ban is still in place.