Ryanair boss Eddie Wilson has apologised after a flight attendant said that Tel Aviv was in Palestine, causing an angry backlash from Israeli passengers.
A row broke out after a Ryanair cabin crew member made the announcement in both English and Italian on a flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv on June 10.
Mr Wilson said the company was “100% satisfied that it was an innocent mistake with no political overtones or intent”.
But passengers complained and passengers “continued to be abusive” even after the cabin crew apologised.
According to the BBC, police had to be called to meet the aircraft when it landed.
Some Israeli media commentators called for Israelis to boycott the airline if an apology wasn’t made.
In a statement to the Jewish Chronicle, 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 apologized for by the senior crew member on board.”
Calling the Israeli city Palestinian is seen as highly provocative as it is considered to be denying the recognition of the Jewish state.
But Mr Wilson said he has written to the Israeli ambassador for Ireland, adding that Israel was an “important partner” for Ryanair.
The airline is also the second-largest in Israel.
Mr Wilson said: “We plan 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.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean, said: “How would Ryanair react if their flight attendant on a flight to Dublin announced multiple times that passengers would soon be arriving in the UK?
“Everyone is entitled to their opinions but not to alternative facts.”
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