Suit against Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group can go forward, appeals court says

By Kirsten Dorman
Published: Thursday, August 17, 2023 - 4:02pm
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2023 - 4:04pm

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a federal lawsuit against Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group can move forward.

In a unanimous decision, the court held that a jury could find that one of the airline’s pilots acted in a way that was racially motivated.

Issam Abdallah and Abderraouf Alkhawaldeh said in a 2019 press conference that they were followed, questioned by law enforcement and had their luggage re-checked at an Alabama airport.

Their flight was canceled, and Mesa Airlines booked them for another, later one. Reportedly, the pilot told security that she would not fly with “a brother named Issam” on the plane.

The court rejected a previous finding that there was no disparate treatment because the flight was canceled for everyone.

The case now moves back to a Texas district court.

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