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Flight from Athens to Tel Aviv Rocked by Dispute Between Israeli and Arab-Israelis

aegean 2An Aegean Airlines flight departing from Athens to Tel Aviv on January 3rd was marred by a dispute on board the aircraft.
The Jerusalem post reports that Israeli passengers demanded that two Arab-Israelis on board leave the plane. Adamant in their request, some passengers refused to sit down when the Aegean staff initially ignored the request and prepared for take off.
Ultimately, the Greek airline company offered the two Arab-Israeli men an over-night stay and a flight to Tel Aviv the following day in exchange for agreeing to leave the flight. The two men did disembark but the remaining passengers called for a security check on the plane. Upon the crew’s refusal and the warning that continual resistance would lead to escorting complaining passengers out without reimbursement, everyone sat down and the plane took off for Tel Aviv.
The Huffington Post reports the following statement by AEGEAN Airlines:
«With regards to your enquiry kindly note that on the scheduled AEGEAN flight A3 928 from Athens to Tel Aviv on January the 3rd an initially small group of some Israeli passengers very vocally and persistently asked for two other Israeli passengers to be checked for security issues.
While it is indeed unfortunate that they were possibly racially profiling the customers, indeed their fellow Israelis, because safety must be first, the pilot did feel compelled to delay the flight call the police so to check again the two Israeli passengers documents and identities.
This did take some time of course but the documents were indeed checked and were ok. Unfortunately by that time, due to the delay, a much larger group of passengers were reacting despite the assurances given by the crew about the two passengers. So with the agreement of the two Israeli passengers that were affected, for which we are very thankful, we offered them overnight stay and transport the next day, we offloaded their luggage. We also offered any other passenger of course the possibility to disembark in case they did not feel secure.
The whole episode, which did indeed delay the flight for more than 1 hour and 30 minutes, is indeed very unfortunate and we are grateful that the two Israeli passengers affected did agree to fly the next day. We thank again the two Israeli passengers that agreed to disembark for their understanding and collaboration and we apologize for the whole episode which was indeed extremely unfortunate».

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