FAA enters San Antonio Airport Chick-fil-A fight, opens investigation

Investigation will look into religious discrimination

SAN ANTONIO - The Federal Aviation Administration is launching an investigation into the City Council's decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from a concession contract at San Antonio International Airport over the chicken chain restaurant owner's religious beliefs.

"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 officials said in a statement, referencing both the San Antonio and Buffalo Niagra international airports.

RELATED: New food agreement approved at San Antonio International Airport

In March, the San Antonio City Council voted 6-4 to remove the food company from the new airport concessionaire contract.

In its statement, the FAA said it had notified the airport about the investigation, saying, "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."

"We received a letter from the FAA advising us they were opening an investigation into the airport concessions contract. We will need time to review the letter and determine our course of action," wrote City Attorney Andy Segovia said in a statement to KSAT.com.

RELATED: Texas AG opens investigation into SA banning Chick-fil-A at airport

In March, Chick-fil-A, the popular faith-based chicken chain restaurant, sent KSAT.com a statement about the decision of excluding them from the airport.

"This is the first we’ve heard of this. It’s disappointing. We would have liked to have had a dialogue with the city council before this decision was made. We agree with Councilmember Treviño that everyone is and should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A. We plan to reach out to the city council to gain a better understanding of this decision," the statement said.

RELATED: City Council's vote to exclude Chick-Fil-A at San Antonio's airport draws applause, criticism

District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino, who made the motion to exclude Chick-Fil-A from a food and beverage package deal at the airport, released the following statement shortly after the City Council's vote:

"With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior. Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport. I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement by Paradies (Lagardère)."

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