Ryanair says sorry over ‘innocent mistake’ after crew member announces Tel Aviv is in Palestine
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Budget Irish airline Ryanair has apologised after a flight attendant said Tel Aviv was in Palestine, which prompted an angry backlash from Israeli passengers onboard. According to reports, a row broke out after the cabin crew member made the announcement on a flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv on June 10.
Ryanair boss Eddie Wilson said the company was “100% satisfied that it was an innocent mistake with no political overtones or intent.” However, passengers complained and “continued to be abusive” even after the cabin crew apologised.
According to Israeli news channel 124NEWS, the crew member said: “Passengers requested to return to their seats as the plane is about to land in Tel Aviv in occupied Palestine.” The announcement was announced in both English and Italian.
Police reportedly had to be called when the aircraft landed. People have since called for Israelis to boycott Ryanair if an apology wasn’t made. In a statement to the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Wilson said: “A junior crew member on this flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv made a routine descent PA mistakenly saying ‘Palestine’ instead of ‘Tel Aviv’.
“This was an innocent mistake with no intent and was immediately corrected and apologised for by the senior crew member onboard…It is not Ryanair policy (or our crew practice) to refer to Tel Aviv as being in any country other than Israel. The crew member in question has been spoken to and received a warning to ensure that such an error is never repeated.”
Mr Wilson added he has written to the Israeli ambassador for Ireland, adding that Israel was an “important partner” for Ryanair, as the country’s second-largest airline. He said: “We plan to invest in Israel to grow traffic and connectivity for both Israelis travelling to Europe and also to bring much-needed inbound tourism to Israel.”
The airline chief also apologised to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, who had written to Ryanair that it had received “numerous complaints” about the incident and urged the airline to investigate.
It wrote on Twitter: “If Ryanair considers Tel Aviv to be in Palestine then perhaps they should only do business with the Palestinian Authority. Israel and Israelis can make their own way to and from the Jewish state.”