Lufthansa settles dispute with excluded Jewish passengers

BERLIN (AP) — German airline Lufthansa said Thursday that it has reached a settlement with most members of a group of Orthodox Jewish passengers who weren’t allowed to board a flight in Frankfurt earlier this year after some had refused to wear masks.

Lufthansa apologized after the incident on May 4, which involved passengers from New York transiting at Germany’s biggest airport for a flight to Budapest.

German media at the time reported that some of the passengers on the incoming flight had apparently refused to comply with rules requiring them to wear face masks, whereupon Lufthansa staff allegedly blocked all passengers who were visibly identifiable as Jews from boarding their connecting flight.

“We can confirm that Lufthansa has reached a settlement with the vast majority of the passengers,” the airline said in a statement.

It gave no details and declined to confirm a report by aviation news site Simple Flying that Lufthansa agreed to pay $21,000 to each passenger who was denied boarding.

Regional officials and Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, a Berlin rabbi and head of the local Chabad community, expressed concern after the incident.

Teichtal said German companies should be sensitive to possible antisemitism in light of the country’s Nazi past.

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