Ryanair drops Afrikaans test that angered South Africans
LONDON (AP) — Budget airline Ryanair said it has dropped its controversial Afrikaans language test for South African travelers aimed at weeding out people with fake passports.
The Dublin-based airline changed its policy of requiring South African travelers to the UK to pass the quiz after furor erupted earlier this month.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday that the test was abandoned, the BBC reported. The airline’s press service confirmed his comments.
“Our team has published a test in Afrikaans of 12 simple questions,” such as naming the mountain outside the capital Pretoria, O’Leary told reporters.
“They have no difficulty doing it. But we didn’t think it was appropriate either,” he said. “So we ended the Afrikaans test because it doesn’t make sense.”
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 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 white 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”. South African passengers who failed the test were barred from boarding and refunded.
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