saudiaIn response to the challenge by New York’s Public Advocate to Saudi airlines, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Khalid Al-Melhem stated that Israelis cannot fly on board the kingdom’s flights, reported Al Arabiya news.

Melhem said that the decision to bar Israelis on Saudi flights was a sovereign decision and not solely that of the airlines. There is a rule that foreigners can enter the kingdom only if their own country has diplomatic relations with Saudi. Israel does not meet this criterion, and so Israelis cannot travel aboard Saudi airlines.

“In the absence of political relations between Saudi and any other country, we will not accept passengers as it is impossible to enter the Kingdom,” said Melhem. He pointed out that even though this does not apply to transit passengers, in an unlikely event such as a delayed flight, the passenger will have to enter the country, an option that is rendered impossible due to lack of diplomatic ties.

New York’s Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio had threatened to prevent Saudi flights from landing in American airports because of what he described as “racial discrimination” practiced by Saudi Arabian Airlines against Israeli travelers.