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STA Travel pulls sale of Royal Brunei flights

STA Travel pulls sale of Royal Brunei flights

STA Travel has said it will no longer sell tickets for flights on Royal Brunei Airlines as calls for an international boycott of the country grow.

Amnesty International warned at the end of March that the Asian destination was implementing a strict interpretation of sharia law, including new punishments such as death by stoning for same-sex acts.

Since the rules came into force there has been an international outcry.

Actor George Clooney called on travellers to boycott Dorchester Collection hotels in the US, UK, France and Italy, as they are owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.

He argued they should be avoided by those who oppose the measures.

In response to the growing controversy, the hotel company today said it would temporarily suspend its social media presence:

In recent days Virgin Australia has also cancelled a staff travel agreement with Brunei’s national airline.

The agreement has allowed staff from the Australian arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin airline group to book discounted tickets on Royal Brunei flights for leisure travel.

Adding its voice to the criticism today, STA Travel said: “We’re proud of our open and diverse culture and we expect our partners to demonstrate the same.

“We do not support in any way the laws being introduced in Brunei (including on Brunei-registered aircraft and vessels). Because of this we have stopped selling Royal Brunei Airlines flights.”

The company added: “Anybody who bought Royal Brunei Airlines tickets through STA Travel and who no longer wants to use them can claim a refund, and we will help those customers to make alternative travel arrangements.

“We’ve taken this stance to add our voice to the calls on Brunei to reverse this change in the law and in support of LGBTQI people everywhere.”

STA Travel is the world’s largest student and youth travel company, and has been in business since 1979.