Saudi Arabia’s national airline had denied a reported plan to segregate men and women during flights.
Local Arabic daily Ajel had reported that the move by Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) was in response to complaints by men who said they felt uncomfortable with unrelated men sitting next to their female relatives.
Others also had reportedly complained that a flight attendant, whose gender was not specified, was acting too “flirty” during a Saudi flight.
The report was covered by international media including the UK’s Daily Mail.
However, Saudia spokesman Abdullah Al Ajhar denied the airline would segregate genders, labelling the reports as “false” and “misleading”, Arab News reported on Monday.
The marketing manager quoted in the original article also claimed his comments had been taken out of context.
“I answered: We are trying to find a solution and awaiting the outcome,” he wrote on Twitter, according to a translation by Arab News.
Saudia does not employ local women as flight attendants, instead hiring women from countries such as Pakistan, the Philippines, Albania and Bosnia. However, it has begun employing Saudi women for airport ground positions as part of the kingdom’s push towards opening up employment opportunities for women.
The conservative Islamic kingdom bans unrelated men and women from socialising in public or working together.
Saudia also enforces other Islamic ideals on board its flights including reading a verse of the Quran before take-off and not serving alcohol or pork.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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