Lawfare Project Files New Complaint Against Kuwait Airways in Germany, Challenging Layover Flights Through Kuwait

The Lawfare Project is excited to announce the next stage in its international legal action challenging Kuwait Airways Corporation’s (KAC) refusal to fly Israeli nationals on any of its flights, regardless of origin or destination. After successfully shutting down all Kuwait Airways flights operating between the U.S. and Europe, as well as all inter-European flights, we have filed a new action in the District Court of Frankfurt, Germany, challenging all flights from Europe through Kuwait to non-Arab League destinations such as Bangkok and Mumbai.

These connecting flights are the last remaining vestige of the airline, and the LP is confident that the German court will agree that they clearly operate in violation of German aviation and anti-discrimination laws. Every airline operating flights into and out of Germany must transport every passenger engaging in his/her protected right to travel, and KAC cannot extraterritorially apply discriminatory domestic Kuwaiti law against German travelers.

The plaintiff in this case booked a ticket through Expedia on KAC’s flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Bangkok, Thailand, with a layover in Kuwait. Shortly before the flight departed, the airline became aware of the fact that this individual was an Israeli national, and immediately cancelled his ticket. LP German counsel Nathan Gelbart explains: “This plaintiff is asking for a ruling by the court that will allow every German traveler to fly on every airline operating in German airports, regardless of his/her national origin, religion, or ethnicity. If Kuwait Airways wishes to operate flights from Frankfurt to Bangkok and to officially market these flights in Germany, they must either transport all passengers, including Israelis, or simply cease these flights.”

Although KAC will likely argue that they cannot admit Israeli passport holders on flights that travel through Kuwait, since the Arab League member state participates in a hateful, decades-old boycott of Israel, passengers with layovers in Kuwait do not ever enter Kuwaiti territory, nor are they required to pass through customs or passport control. They simply disembark from one flight, pass through the duty free area, and board another flight to a destination that does not discriminate against the Jewish or Israeli people. Since at least 7 member states of the Arab League already welcome Israeli passport holders in these commercial areas, there is nothing justifying Kuwait’s refusal to allow the same.


LP Director Brooke Goldstein expects continued success in this crucial and groundbreaking legal action, and hopes to see the airline comply with German law or face the appropriate consequences for its clearly discriminatory commercial behavior. “National origin discrimination has no place in global commerce,” she says. “The LP is sending a message to all participants in the Arab League boycott of Israel as well as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that these practices will be prosecuted and penalized whenever and wherever they are attempted in the Western world.”

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