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FAA to investigate if Buffalo Niagara International Airport discriminated against Chick-Fil-A

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Posted at 2:08 PM, May 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 00:17:55-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced an investigation has been opened into complaints the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) operators discriminated against Chick-Fil-A.

It was announced in late March a Chick-Fil-A would be coming to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport sometime this fall.

Just a day after that decision was announced, following backlash Delaware North decided not to include the chain in the airport renovation plans.

Delaware North released a statement in early April, stating it was "purely a business decision."

The FAA says the Department of Transportation (DOT) has received complaints alleging discrimination by the BNIA operators against Chick-Fil-A. The BNIA has been informed the FAA's Office of Civil Rights has opened an investigation into the complaints.

The investigation includes the San Antonio International Airport which also pulled plans for a Chick-Fil-A.

The FAA released a statement to 7 Eyewitness News Saturday:

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. 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. The findings of the investigations will be communicated to the complainants once the investigations are completed.

A spokesperson for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority released this statement to 7 Eyewitness News Saturday afternoon:

I can reiterate that the decision not to move forward with Chick fil A came from Delaware North, not the NFTA.

7EWN reached out to Delaware North Saturday for comment. A spokesperson sent us this statement Monday:

Delaware North had proposed multiple concepts for consideration per the airport’s process, but no final decision was made. Not moving forward was a business decision based on Delaware North’s overall business considerations at the time. We are continuing to evaluate what concepts to include for the airport in our next proposal.