Etihad Airways Omits Israel From Its Official Flight Map

Etihad also teaches its flight agents to identify Israeli travelers by their 'accents and traits,' the BBC reported in 2010.

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Etihad Airways, the official airline of the United Arab Emirates, has omitted Israel from its official flight map, the New York Post reported on Monday.

A partner of American Airlines, Etihad is supported to the tune of $425,000 annually by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which maintains a preclearance customs facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The facility fast-tracks travelers to the United States by allowing them to clear customs easily and bypass long lines.

The carrier's official travel-route map shows all surrounding countries, including Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, but not Israel or its major cities.

Etihad also refuses to transport Israelis, who aren’t allowed in the UAE. In 2010, it began teaching its flight agents how to identify Israeli travelers by their “accents and traits,” according to the BBC.

Etihad is the only airline providing service between Abu Dhabi and U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington.

Last May, U.S. senators blasted then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano for funding the Abu Dhabi facility. Etihad, they noted, would be the only carrier to benefit from the facility, which opened in January and handles fewer than 1,000 travelers a day.

“We question whether the department is choosing preclearance locations based on risk or based on a pay-to-play process,” the 11 senators wrote to Napolitano.

An American Airlines and Etihad representative didn’t respond to requests for comment.

State Department spokesman Peter Boogaard said, “DHS doesn’t condone discrimination of any kind, and a preclearance agreement in no way suggests support for any specific airline or policy.”

Etihad Airways headquarters in Abu Dhabi.Credit: Reuters

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