Delta alliance with Saudi airline creating turbulence

Saudi Arabian Airlines is set to join global airline alliance SkyTeam in 2012 and the new partnership appears to be causing anxiety and concern in certain religious circles.

Much of the backlash is directed at Delta Air Lines, the only U.S. carrier in the 13-member airline group.

According to a USA Today report Delta might end up enforcing a Saudi policy of not admitting Israelis and non-Islamic religious items such as Bibles on their flights because of this alliance.

Another report in the Huffington Post said Delta will in effect be adopting the Saudi airline's "No Jew Policy."

Delta has a large presence in South Florida. It's the fourth largest carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with nearly 14 percent of passenger market share this year as of May.

Delta was the top airline at Palm Beach International Airport for the 12 months ending in May with nearly 24 percent of total passenger market share.

In a blog responding to the flack Friday, a Delta media spokesperson wrote:

"…Delta does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against anyone in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender. That said, some have raised questions about whether Saudi Arabian Airlines' membership in SkyTeam means Delta is adopting any type of policies that could present barriers to travel for some passengers, including Jewish customers. For this particular concern, it's important to realize that visa requirements to enter any country are dictated by that nation's government, not the airlines, and they apply to anyone entering the country regardless of whether it's by plane, bus or train…"

For more from Delta, click here.


Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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