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FAA Investigating Airports After Banning Chick-fil-A



Two airports are under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration for allegedly abandoning plans to add Chick-fil-A restaurants after complaints about the company’s stance on gay rights.

San Antonio International Airport and Buffalo Niagara International Airport have been notified they are under investigation for religious discrimination.

“The Department of Transportation has received complaints alleging discrimination by two airport operators against a private company due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs,” an FAA statement said. “FAA’s Office of Civil Rights has notified the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) and Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) that it has opened investigations into these complaints. The FAA notes that Federal requirements prohibit airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding.”

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Chick-fil-A, wildly popular with many for its chicken meals and sandwiches, has also been criticized by some for its conservative stance – including against same-sex marriage. Its restaurants are closed on Sundays, president Dan Cathy has been quoted as saying the chain supports “the biblical definition of the family unit,” and the company donated $1.8 million in 2017 to groups with a discriminatory record against the LGBTQ community.

In a statement to CNN, Chick-fil-A said “We are a restaurant company … and we have no social or political stance. We welcome and embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In San Antonio, a new concessions contract for the airport was approved, but one city councilman balked because of Chick-fil-A’s “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”

In New York, state Assemblyman Sean Ryan said the plans to open a Chick-fil-A in Buffalo were canceled by the firm that operates the airport’s concessions, Delaware North.

“(Delaware North) was very quick to realize that this is a potential problem, having a company like this in a state-run facility,” Ryan said.

Kevin Kelly, a Delaware North official, said plans for a Chick-fil-A at the airport were never a done deal and that the company had not received enough community input.

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