Ryanair has finally broken its silence after a passenger launched a racist tirade at a pensioner on board a flight.
A spokesman for the airline denied the victim’s previous claims that they were yet to apologise for what happened – insisting instead they treated the matter with the urgency and seriousness it warranted.
Ryanair has been widely criticised for the way it has handled the incident after a video emerged showing a man, since revealed to be David Mesher, ranting at Delsie Eunice Gayle.
Video footage emerged at the weekend which showed him calling the woman an “ugly black b***ard” and telling her “don’t speak to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow”.
Ryanair said their crew was aware of an argument between two passengers during the boarding process, but denied being aware of racist comments made.
The airline said it found out about the video late on Saturday October 20, a day after the incident, and claim they apologised to the victim on the Sunday.
Mr Mesher today appeared on Good Morning Britain to deny being racist – as he claimed he merely lost his temper ‘a bit’ with victim Delsie, 77.
READ BELOW FOR RYANAIR’S FULL STATEMENT
A spokeswoman from Ryanair has previously told Mirror Online: “We have reported this to the police in Essex and as this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”
But until now they had refused to provide a further statement.
Today, the airline finally spoke out at length, saying they wished to clarify some facts about the video showing racist abuse.
They claimed the cabin crew followed company procedure to defuse an argument between two passengers and separate them by offering to move one a different seat.
Ryanair said “the female passenger was moved at her request” and claim they then made sure both passengers were ‘okay’ – thinking this was the end of the matter.
Ryanair’s statement in full
Ryanair today (26 Oct) issued the following statement in response to the video of the racist abuse during the boarding of a flight in Barcelona on Fri 19 Oct last, prior to its departure for London Stansted.
Ryanair cannot name either of the two passengers involved in this incident for data protection reasons and does not wish to compromise the investigation currently underway by Police services in Essex and Barcelona, but wishes to clarify the following facts, to prevent any further inaccurate and/or unfounded media reportage:
1. Ryanair only became aware of this video late on Sat 20 Oct, which showed that racist abuse had taken place during a verbal argument between two passengers seated adjacent to each other during the boarding of this flight on Fri 19.
2. Ryanair immediately reported this video, and the racist abuse, to the Essex Police in Stansted Airport at 9am on Sun 21 Oct. We provided the Police with a copy of the video, and relevant details of the two passengers involved. These prompt actions disprove the false claims that Ryanair did not respond “quickly” or “appropriately” to this video. To allow the Police investigation to occur, Ryanair declined to comment to media despite the considerable and inaccurate media commentary.
3. Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew were aware of an argument between these two passengers during the boarding process, but were not aware of, as they were not present when, racist comments that were made by the male passenger towards the female passenger. While these events were videoed by another passenger on a mobile phone, this video was not shown to cabin crew until after landing in London Stansted. Ryanair did not become aware of the contents of the video until late on Sat evening when it gained widespread coverage on social media.
4. As the cabin crew believed they were dealing with an argument between two passengers, they followed company procedure, to defuse the argument, and separate the passengers by offering to move one to alternative seating. In this case, the female passenger was moved at her request , to a seat adjacent to her daughter who was also travelling on this flight. After moving the female passenger, both passengers were asked if they were “okay”, and both confirmed that they were. As far as the cabin crew were concerned, that was the end of the matter, and since there was no threat to aircraft safety, the issue of offloading one passenger did not arise. The Captain was not informed of any argument between the two passengers, and nor were airport security in Barcelona alerted, because as far as the cabin crew were concerned, the verbal argument had been defused.
5. Ryanair immediately wrote, both by email and letter (copies attached), to the female passenger at 11am on Sun morning, apologising sincerely for what happened on board the aircraft and advising her that the matter had been reported to the Essex Police at Stansted Airport. We also invited the passenger to contact the airline if they wished to discuss the matter further. The claim made in the media in recent days, that Ryanair did not contact or apologise to the female passenger, is untrue.
6. Ryanair will be happy to answer any further questions or queries that may arise as soon as the Essex Police and the Barcelona Police authorities have concluded their investigations and have decided what action to take.
7. Ryanair has a long record of not tolerating disruptive or abusive passenger behaviour, and we have been to the forefront of calling for greater powers and more effective Government follow-up in cases of passenger disruption onboard flights.
Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “We again extend our very sincere apologies to this passenger for the regrettable, and unacceptable remarks that were made to her by an adjacent passenger, and we believe that by reporting this matter immediately to the Essex Police and by apologising in writing to this customer early on Sunday morning, Ryanair treated it with the urgency and seriousness it warranted.
“We trust that this statement will address the inaccurate media coverage of this incident over recent days, and that the legal rights of both passengers will be respected, while the Police services in Essex and Barcelona conduct their investigation of this matter, with Ryanair’s full cooperation and assistance.”