The UAE Emirates airline has been banned from landing in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, after a number of Tunisian women were prevented from boarding its flights.
The ban comes amid widespread anger in Tunisia, with rights groups condemning “racist and discriminatory” measures.
The Tunisian transport ministry said the measure would stay in place until Emirates was able to “operate flights in accordance with law and international agreements”.
In response, the UAE said “security information” had caused the delays.
Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted on December 24:
“We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that necessitated taking specific procedures. “We highly value Tunisian women and respect them.”
Image source Wikimedia
According to Tunisian government officials, the UAE had banned Tunisian women from flying to or transiting through its territory.
On December 22, the Tunisian government said it had asked the UAE ambassador to clarify what was happening and had been told that the measures had been temporary and had already been lifted.
According to local media, Tunisian women had been blocked from boarding Emirates flights to Dubai over several days.
Some Tunisian women said their journeys to the UAE had been delayed and some that their visas had to undergo additional examination, the AFP reported.
Tunisia has been trying to improve relations with the UAE that were damaged by its 2011 revolution.
Its ruling Ennahda party also has links to Qatar, which has been cut off by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over its alleged support for terrorism.
VIDEO Emirates Airline has cancelled an order for 70 of Airbus’s A350 wide-bodied aircraft, the plane maker announces.
Airbus said the cancellation had followed “ongoing discussions with the airline in light of their fleet requirement review”.
In 2007, Dubai’s Emirates Airline placed 50 orders for the A350-900 and 20 for the A350-1000, with deliveries due from 2019.
A spokesperson for Emirates said the airline was “reviewing our fleet requirements”.
Emirates Airline has cancelled an order for 70 of Airbus’s A350 wide-bodied aircraft
Airbus said it was confident that new orders “in the coming months” would compensate for the Emirates cancellation.
“There’s no impact on the program as deliveries were scheduled to start at the end of the decade,” a spokesman said.
In a statement, Airbus said it was “very confident” in its A350 XWB program, adding that it had 742 firm orders and it expected the order book to continue growing in 2014.
“Interest in the game-changing A350 has always been very high with customers,” it said.
Airbus added that Emirates had recently “reiterated its confidence in Airbus products, particularly by praising the A380”.
Emirates Airline ordered an extra 50 A380 superjumbo planes at the last Dubai Airshow.
However, investors took the news of the cancelled A350s badly, with Airbus shares closing down more than 3% in Paris. Rolls-Royce shares fell more than 5% in London.
The A350 long-range jet is a competitor to Boeing’s 777 and 787 Dreamliner planes. The design of the A350 was changed in 2006.
Emirates announced it had ordered 150 of Boeing’s 777X planes at the Dubai Air Show last year.
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