British Airline Bans Crucifixes from Saudi Arabia Flights

|TOP|The sole British air crew that fly to Saudi Arabia have been ordered not to wear crucifixes or St Christopher medals during flights so that they do not offend the country’s Muslim population, the Telegraph has reported.

Air crew working for BMI were also told that they must cover themselves in traditional abaya robes that Saudi women wear in public. In addition, the crews have even been told to wear headscarves in certain instances.

The airline has reported that the new rules for their Saudi flights have been introduced as part of its obligation to “respect the customs” of the country, which is one of the world’s most conservative Muslim nations.

A Sunday newspaper, reported that an unnamed BMI employee said, “It's outrageous that we must respect their beliefs but they're not prepared to respect ours. BMI are asking too much of their staff on this one.”

|AD|“My Gran gave me a crucifix shortly before she died and I wear it at all times. It's got massive sentimental value and I don't see why I have to remove it.”

Since Sept. 2005 BMI has been the only British carrier to operate flights to Saudi Arabia. The airline spokesperson, Phil Shepherd commented that any staff that did not wish to follow the requirements could transfer themselves to other short haul routes without a drop in pay.

BMI has denied the truth of a report stating that the airline had received complaints from up to 40 staff members that were planning to take the company to an employment tribunal. The airline state that only “one or two” of its staff had raised the issue.

Shepherd said, “There are certain sensitivities in operating in a country like Saudi Arabia. We worked closely with the Foreign Office in finding the best way to manage it and as far as we are aware there is not a major problem. The channels are there for staff to discuss any concerns they have with their managers.”