Ryanair apologises to Israeli ambassador to Ireland for staff calling Israel 'Palestine'

The flight attendant who made the announcment is 'extremely apologetic' according to the airline's CEO


A Ryanair airplane takes off Brussels Airport on May 24, 2023 in Zaventem. (Photo by HATIM KAGHAT / Belga / AFP) / Belgium OUT (Photo by HATIM KAGHAT/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Irish budget airline Ryanair has apologised to the Israeli ambassador to Ireland after a "junior" crew member made an inflight announcement calling Israel 'Palestine' while flying to Tel Aviv.

On a June 10 flight between Bologna and Tel Aviv, a member of the flight crew told passengers on the flight's descent into Ben Gurion international airport that they were about to land in "Palestine."

Passengers on the flight reportedly heard the flight attendant say they were soon arriving in Palestine multiple times in Italian and English.

In a statement to the JC, a spokesperson for Ryanair said: “A junior crew member on this flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv (10 June) 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 on board.”

After outcry over the incident, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of Jewish global human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Centre wrote to the airline asking for an apology over the incident, saying: “How would Ryan Air react if their flight attendant on a flight to Dublin announced multiple times that passengers would soon be arriving in the United Kingdom?."

In response, Eddie Wilson, the CEO of Ryanair, said that he had written to Israel's ambassador to Ireland Bar Sadeh to formally apologise and make assurances that this mistake would not be repeated.

He said: "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.

"Israel is an important partner for Ryanair."

"We are Israel's second-largest airline and we plan to continue to invest in Israel to grow traffic and connectivity both for Israelis travelling to Europe and also to bring much-needed inbound tourism to Israel.

"I travelled to Tel Aviv & Jerusalem in recent months to launch our Winter 22 schedule and hope to visit again in the near future.

Many thanks for your letter and apologise for this inappropriate and unacceptable PA and can assure you that there was no intention to cause offence.

"This was an innocent mistake, and the crew member apologised on the PA when they realised what had happened. We can assure you that the crew member who made the announcement was extremely apologetic and has assured us that this mistake will never be repeated."

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