Days before a partnership with Emirates Airline comes into effect, Qantas has responded to growing concerns regarding passengers who may unknowingly violate local laws during a stop-over in Dubai.
The Australian regulator is expected to approve the alliance between the two airlines within the next few days. Under the deal, all Qantas flights to Europe and the Middle East as well as many to Africa, will include a stop-over in Dubai.
A press release by the lobby group Detained in Dubai demanded the Australian airline explain how it would protect passengers who inadvertently find themselves in legal troubles, due to the fact that they may be unaware of the huge differences between the Australian and Emirate legal systems.
The group has told the airline that it must warn passengers about how ‘sharing a hotel room with someone they are not married to’ or ‘eating in public during Ramadan’ could wind them in jail. It also presented several recent examples of Australians who have been jailed for such offenses.
In response to the concerns, Qantas pointed out that an estimated 50 million people per year travel through the Dubai Airport. This includes more than two million Australians — with the vast majority traveling through the UAE entirely without incident.
Qantas issued a statement saying, “Different rules apply in many of the countries we fly to, which is the very nature of international travel. We encourage all our passengers – whether they are traveling to Asia, the United States, or to the UAE – to check the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website so that are fully informed of local laws and customs before they board our aircraft.”