Lufthansa has apologized for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers on a flight after some of them refused to wear masks.
The German airline said in a statement that it “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.”
The airline said it was reviewing what happened during the May 4 incident, involving passengers from New York City transiting Frankfurt for a flight to Budapest.
Some of the passengers allegedly refused to comply with rules requiring them to wear face masks, after which Lufthansa staff allegedly blocked all visibly identifiable Jewish passengers from boarding their connecting flight, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung reported. .
Local German media reported that staff excluded passengers who were recognizably Jewish because they wore skull caps or had padlocks.
“We regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to non-compliant passengers,” the airline said.
“We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any kind,” he added.
Uwe Becker, the anti-Semitism commissioner for the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, strongly condemned the incident.
Becker said that apparently a whole group of people – purely because of their recognizable faith – had been blamed for something that obviously only affected individual travelers.
“This is discriminatory and not insignificant, and it is one more reason why senior management of the company should also feel personally responsible for apologizing for this incident and taking a clear and unequivocal position” , Becker told German news agency dpa.
Becker said he would be happy to have a conversation with Lufthansa about it. “Such a thing must not be repeated,” he added.