SriLankan Airlines is fighting a boycott call by Muslims after a passenger said he was arrested for reading the Koran on a flight from Australia to Sri Lanka.
The passenger who came in from Melbourne on UL 605 on May 23was detained on arrival, questioned and released.
The Male passenger said to be an Australian national resident in Kandy posted that, he was arrested in Sri Lanka for “reading Quran during the flight.”
“SriLankan Airlines cabin crew reported as suspicious activity, I was detained for 12 hours at the airport,” he added. “Worst experience ever.”
This resulted in a social media storm with many people calling for a boycott of the airline.
The airline in a statement released this evening said that it was following standard operating procedure.
It said that the passenger had shown “unsettled behavior depicting extreme stress.”
“Further, the said passenger had been instigating conversation with other passengers onboard on (sic) a religious nature. Despite the crew engaging with the passenger during the meal service and during the flight to ascertain the reason for his unusual behavior, his demeanor and conduct had not improved. The crew had found this worrying to the rest of the passengers onboard as well,” the statement added.
The airline said the crew had reported the passenger to the Airport Authorities on arrival “as per standard crew procedures globally.”
The statement added that “the Airline wishes to reiterate that it does not differentiate passengers based on faith, caste, creed or ethnicity – proof of which is that none of the other passengers onboard UL 605 complained of an unpleasant flying experience.”
The passenger had been questioned by police at the airport and released.