Ryanair has dropped a controversial Afrikaans language test it imposed on South African travelers in a bid to crack down on fake passports.
The low-cost airline had required South African nationals traveling to the UK to pass a quiz, sparking fury and accusations of discrimination. Passengers who failed the test were barred from boarding and were refunded.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive, told a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday that the test was scrapped.
He said: “Our team has released a simple 12-question Afrikaans test.
“They have no difficulty doing it. But we didn’t think it was appropriate either.
“So we ended the Afrikaans test, because it doesn’t make sense.”
The questions included the name of the mountain outside the capital Pretoria.
Ryanair does not fly to or from South Africa, but is Europe’s largest airline, carrying tens of millions of passengers between hundreds of cities every year.
Afrikaans is one of South Africa’s 11 official languages and is the first language of around 13% of the country’s population of nearly 60 million.
It is a Dutch language developed by many of the country’s settlers from the Netherlands and associated with South Africa’s white minority apartheid regime which ended in 1994.
Information about the questionnaire circulating on social media has angered South Africans.
The airline had said it needed passengers to pass the test due to the “high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports”.
BBC radio presenter Audrey Brown, who is South African, wrote: “I want everyone to know that a test in Afrikaans – if it is needed – is a form of violence against us.
“For me, it was like apartheid again – being held in check by language that was used to try to keep us in check in the bad old days.
“I am neither grateful nor happy that Ryanair dropped the Afrikaans test. My overwhelming feeling remains anger – anger that they were insensitive and rude enough to impose the test on South African passport holders first venue.
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This notice was published: 2022-06-15 20:22:07