Rwanda accuses SN Brussels of discrimination

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 March 2006, BRUSSELS — A row over the grounding of an SN Brussels Airlines plane in Rwanda has flared again in the face of discrimination allegations.

2 March 2006

BRUSSELS — A row over the grounding of an SN Brussels Airlines plane in Rwanda has flared again in the face of discrimination allegations.

Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Murigande has accused SN of discriminating against Rwandan nationals.

He said when passengers were stranded in the transit zone at Kigali Airport last week, the Belgian airline paid the hotel costs of Belgian nationals, but not those of Rwandan and Burundian nationals.

"We find such an attitude unacceptable, condemnable and even disgusting," he said.

But SN fiercely denied the accusations on Wednesday night: "SN has respect for all of its clients and makes no distinction based on skin colour, ethnic origin, sex or religion".

In the meantime, SN continues to negotiate with Rwandan authorities about the resumption of flights between Brussels and Kigali, news agency Belga reported.

SN decided on Monday to temporarily suspend its flights to Rwanda after the three-day grounding at Kigali last week. SN flights were Rwanda's only air link to Europe.

The Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the plane was impounded due to a lack of safety documents on board and maintenance irregularities.

CAA chief Joshua Mbaraga also told The New Times in Rwanda (www.newtimes.co.rw) that the plane had a fuel leak.

Belgian officials, however, allege the grounding of the SN plane by Rwandan authorities was in retaliation for Belgium's ban on Rwanda's Silverback Cargo Freighters last year.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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