Aviation

STA Travel cuts ties with Royal Brunei Airlines over country’s new anti-gay laws

In the wake of Brunei’s introduction of harsh new anti-LGBTQI and adultery laws last week, STA Travel has announced it will no longer be working with Royal Brunei Airlines.

The country’s strict new legislation, which incorporates Sharia law, punish sodomy, adultery and rape with death by stoning; amputation for theft, and public flogging as punishment for abortion.

According to a release by the company, the company has made the decision throughout its global operations to stop selling Royal Brunei flights.

STA Travel’s country manager for Australia, Monika Rieker said: “At STA Travel, we are really proud of our open and diverse culture, and we fully expect all our partners to demonstrate and uphold these same values.

“We categorically don’t support the laws that have recently been introduced in Brunei (including on Brunei-registered aircrafts and vessels), which we believe are in direct contravention of basic human rights.

“We can’t do much to change laws, but we can add our voice to a campaign that we believe in.

“Gender and sexuality diversity are a natural part of life, so of course we think sentencing people to death for their sexuality is abhorrent, which is why we’ve backed the Brunei boycott.”

STA Travel is also offering full refunds to customers who have bought Royal Brunei tickets through the company and no longer want to fly with the airline.

Affected customers are invited to contact the STA Travel’s customer service team, who will refund airfares and assist customers to make alternative travel arrangements.

Reiker said: “We are really pleased that STA Travel has taken this stance and is joining forces with the growing choir of voices calling on Brunei to reverse this change in the law. We stand in solidarity of LGBTQI people everywhere.”

STA Travel is not alone in boycotting Brunei’s new laws, with Virgin Australia ending its staff leisure travel agreement with Royal Brunei last week.

A number of celebrities such as George Clooney, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres have also urged travellers to boycott the nine luxury hotels owned by Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah through his company Brunei Investment Agency.

The company owns nine luxury hotels across the US and Europe, including legacy institutions such as Beverly Hills Hotel, London’s The Dorchester and Paris’ Plaza Athenee, which have been forced into hiding on social media due to the backlash.

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