Ryanair has finally released a statement, a week after a racist abuse incident took place on flight FR9015.
A fellow passenger took a video of the scene which has appeared all over social media.
The statement doesn’t name any names both for data protection reasons and because “it does not wish to compromise the investigation by Essex and Barcelona police forces”.
The statement was released after David Mesher, who was seen on video hurling verbal racist abuse at Delsie Gayle, appeared on the Good Morning Britain television show saying that despite his outbursts, he is not a racist.
He explained that he had lost his temper when 77 year old Delsie Gayle, who is severely disabled, didn’t move quickly enough to allow him access to his window seat. He then went on to apologise to Mrs Gayle.
At the time the cabin crew, who were following airline procedures, moved Mrs Gayle to a seat nearer her daughter who was also travelling. Mr Mesher, who many thought should have been marched off the flight, stayed in his seat.
Ryanair’s statement said that the the airline only became aware of the video late on Saturday October 20. They reported the incident to the police the next day at 9am providing a copy of the video footage.
The airline admitted that the Spanish cabin crew had been aware of the argument at the time, but only became aware of the racist language after viewing the video after landing.
The statement said:
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.
Ryanair spokesman 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.
The airline added it would be happy to answer further questions once the police have concluded their enquiries.