|Concerns for Australian, Jewish and LGBT travellers.|
With less than two weeks left on the Qantas and Emirates alliance countdown, a traveller safety group says there’s still a number of questions the Australian flag carrier is yet to discuss, particularly around the safety of Jewish, Australian and LGBT travellers passing through Dubai.
As part of the new agreement, Qantas will terminate its Europe via Asia agreement with British Airways in favour of Europe via Dubai services with Emirates.
Although the alliance has received Australian regulatory approval as well as industry support, Detained in Dubai founder Radha Stirling said “there are numerous dangers to westerners staying in or transiting through Dubai” and Qantas is yet to communicate those issues or how to mitigate them with the public.
Questions Detained in Dubai says needs to be asked of Qantas:
1. Will Qantas warn those passengers that are in de facto relationships, or are gay, that sharing a hotel room with somebody you are not married to can lead to jail in Dubai?
2. Will Qantas warn passengers that eating in public during Ramadan is a jailable offence?
3. Qantas has said that Jewish and Israeli passengers will be safe transiting through Dubai, provided they don’t leave the airport. In the event of a catastrophe or severe weather when airport hotels are full, what does Qantas expect these passengers to do?
4. 32-year old Australian Sun McKay was arrested for swearing in Dubai Airport after being yelled at by a man who later revealed himself as an undercover officer. Sun was jailed for months. What guarantees are there that more Australians won’t be caught in a similar situation inside the airport?
5. In June 2008, Australian woman, Alicia Gall, had her drink spiked and was raped by four co-workers at the luxury Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in the United Arab Emirates. After she reported the assault to authorities, she was jailed for eight months for having sex outside marriage in the UAE. In light of what happened to Alicia, how does Qantas maintain that Dubai resorts are safe for Australians?
6. Australian businessmen Matt Joyce and Marcus Lee remain on house arrest in Dubai after four years in prison, despite the Australian courts clearing them of any wrongdoing. Doesn’t this case prove that the Dubai judicial system is something Australians would not want to be exposed to?