Delta-Saudi Airline Agreement Draws Concern

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Delta Air Lines' partnership with a Middle Eastern airline is raising questions about discrimination.

Saudi Arabian Airlines will soon be a member of the SkyTeam Alliance that Delta is a part of.

Some reports suggest the partnership would force Delta to adopt a "no Jews allowed" policy on flights heading to Saudi Arabia. The country bans any traveler with an Israeli stamp in his or her passport from entering the country. 

The Saudi Embassy in Washington issued a statement denying the reports.

"Rumors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false," Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir said in statement sent to CBN News Friday.

"The Government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion," he said.

Delta issued a statement Friday rejecting the discrimination claims. The airline company said it does not operate in Saudi Arabia nor does it "codeshare" (sell Delta seats on flights operated by other carriers) with airlines that serve that country.

"Delta Air Lines does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against any of our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender," Delta said in the statement.

"Delta's only agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines is a standard industry interline agreement which allows passengers to book tickets on multiple carriers, similar to the standard interline agreements American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines have with Saudi Arabian Airlines," Delta added.

The Anti-Defamation League wrote a letter to Delta Air Lines Friday, urging the company to "ensure that Jewish, Israeli and other non-Muslim passengers do not face discrimination as a result of the partnership" with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk has also called on the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate Delta Air Lines and its agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines. 

For more on the concerns about the Delta-Suadi partnership, CBN News spoke with Jordan Sekulow, director of policy and international operations at the American Center for Law and Justice.

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