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Emirates Airline brings jobs, controversy

December 15, 2008 5:39:40 PM PST
The flight on Emirates Airline from Dubai to San Francisco took nearly 16 hours.

The cost of a seat on coach is about $1,700; first class is significantly higher at $15,000

For SFO, the flight represents a direct link to the middle east, not to mention jobs and revenue locally.

"So this would create about 100 direct jobs and about one-thousand indirect jobs," SFO Director John Martin said.

San Francisco officials rolled out the red carpet for the CEO of Emirates, his Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.

But controversy has followed the airline. Homosuxuality in the United Emirates is illegal and reports say the airline does not hire gay flight attendants, something Sheikh Ahmed denied Monday.

"We allow anyone to work within the airline, we always follow the international policies and laws, so I've never heard to something like this," Ahmed said.

San Francisco Mayor GavinN was out of town Monday, according to his chief of staff Steve Kawa, who would not talk much about the airline's policies.

"They are complying with all the laws of the city and county of San Francisco," Kawa said.

It is illegal for any company doing business in San Francisco to discriminate against anyone based on their gender.

"They still have to comply with the domestic partner regulation of the city and county of San Francisco and they have committed to do that," Martin said.

But that applies only to those employees based in San Francisco and the United States.

So who is keeping an eye on emirates airlines to make sure they are following our policy?

Larry Brinkin is with the city human rights commission.

"We wait until information is brought to us or someone files a complaint that discrimination is going on before we investigate it," Brinkin said.

Brinkin says the city does not have the budget to make sure the company is in compliance worldwide.

Emirates Airline will have three flights a week to and from Dubai; by next May, there will be daily non-stop flights.


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