Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson apologized on Thursday for a recent incident where a flight attendant aboard a June 10 flight from Bologna, Italy to Tel Aviv referred to the Jewish state as "Palestine."
Wilson made the apology in a letter that he sent to the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), shortly after the Jewish human rights organization urged the CEO to investigate the incident. The flight attendant announced in both Italian and English that the plane would be landing in "Palestine," the SWC reported.
“I am very familiar with the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center … It is not Ryanair policy (or our crew practice) to refer to Tel Aviv as being in any country other than Israel," Wilson's letter to the SWC stated. According to the letter, the crew member received a warning to ensure that the incident does not happen again. Wilson also said that Ryanair was "100% satisfied that this was an innocent mistake with no political overtones or intent.
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"Several passengers did complain onboard and when the crew realized what had been announced, the crew member made a second PA apologizing and correcting this error," the letter continued. It went on to say that police were called to meet the aircraft landing in Tel Aviv after a small number of passengers "continued to be abusive" towards the aircraft crew despite the apology.
"We are Israel's second-largest airline and we plan to continue to invest in Israel to grow traffic and connectivity both for Israelis traveling to Europe and also to bring much-needed inbound tourism to Israel," Wilson wrote.
SWC Associate Dean and Global Social Action Director Rabbi Abraham Cooper accepted the apology and said: "Everyone is entitled to their opinions but not to alternative facts."
As Ryanair is based and headquartered in Ireland, Wilson also apologized to the Israeli ambassador to Ireland Bar Sadeh of the incident.