The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has met with Qantas to discuss the ourcome of concerns raised about the Australian national carrier’s new partnership with Emirates and in particular its Dubai hub.“Since we first raised our concerns in early September about the implications of the Qantas-Emirates agreement, we have sought an official statement from the UAE government that specifically addresses the position of Australian travelers in Dubai who have Israeli travel stamps in their passports”, Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) President Dr Danny Lamm said. “This issue affects Australians of all backgrounds who have traveled to Israel, not just members of our community.”
Dr Lamm said that he understood that the statement being sought by the ECAJ was made in a cable from the UAE government to the Australian government in October. The travel advisory for the United Arab Emirates on Australia’s Smart Traveler service was changed 26 October 2012 by deleting the warning concerning travellers with Israeli stamps in their passports. “We have received confirmation in a letter to the ECAJ from Australia’s Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, that visitors to the UAE who have Israeli stamps in their passports may enter the country”, Dr Lamm said.
Dr Lamm, and Executive Director, Peter Wertheim, met on Tuesday (November 27) with Qantas Managing Director and CEO, Alan Joyce, and Head of External Affairs and Media, Andrew McGinnes.
“In response to the concerns first raised by the ECAJ with Qantas about the Emirates agreement, Qantas has taken a number of positive steps,” Wertheim said.
“Qantas will have a strong staff presence at Dubai airport to assist its customers. These staff will be trained to be watchful for any difficulties Qantas travelers may have by virtue of having Israeli stamps in their passports. Qantas also intends to set up a local Dubai hotline for passengers. The airline has already established a hotline in Australia, promoted through J-Wire and the Australian Jewish News, to answer specific questions the Jewish community may have regarding options traveling Qantas for Europe through either Asia or Dubai after the Emirates partnership takes effect. It is also pleasing to note that from January 2013 onwards the map at the back of the Qantas publication ‘The Australian Way’ will specifically name the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The publication already notes El Al as one of their partner airlines.”
The Qantas Hotline: 1300 655 234. It operates from 9am to 5pm AEST, Monday to Friday, to assist with enquiries on future and current bookings.
The letter from Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr: