US-Financed MidEast Airline Shows Its Racist Side

Etihad Airlines is one of a couple of state-owned Middle East-based airlines that receives US taxpayer dollars for its overseas security operations. The airline is based in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates and does not need the US subsidy. The state-run airline ends up spending millions on outfitting top flight soccer teams and buying the names of European soccer stadiums. Most Americans don’t even care about soccer. But you’re paying for it anyway.




Etihad Airlines is based in the supposedly moderate Muslim UAE. But it has now wiped Israel off its maps of the Middle East. It also refuses to allow Israelis to fly.

The US Department of Homeland Security spends $425,000 annually on a preclearance customs facility for Etihad Airways, a partner of American Airlines, at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The facility fast-tracks Abu Dhabi travelers to the United States by allowing them to clear customs more easily and bypass long lines.

But the carrier, owned by the United Arab Emirates, has an official travel-route map that shows all surrounding countries, including Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus — but not the Jewish state or its major cities.

Etihad also has refused to transport any Israelis, who aren’t allowed in the UAE. In 2010, it even began teaching its flight agents how to identify Israeli travelers by their “accents and traits,” the BBC has reported.


Etihad is the only airline that benefits from the Abu Dhabi facility. While the $425,000 per year is a tiny expense in the overall US budget, it’s not the full extent of US aid to the racist airline. In addition to the security facility, the United States has promised more than $1 billion in six loans from the Export-Import Bank to state-run Etihad since 2009.


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