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Ryanair's CEO scraps contentious language test for SA passengers - saying it 'doesn't make any sense'

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Ryanair's CEO said the test doesn't make any sense. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images, Vilius
Ryanair's CEO said the test doesn't make any sense. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images, Vilius
  • Ryanair has scrapped its policy of making South African passengers take a language test, its CEO said.
  • Boss Michael O'Learty said the Afrikaans test "doesn't make any sense." 
  • The airline previously said customers would be unable to travel if they could not complete the test.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Ryanair has scrapped its policy of testing South African passengers using a questionnaire issued in Afrikaans, the BBC reported.

The outlet reported that CEO Michael O'Leary told reporters: "Our team issued a test in Afrikaans of 12 simple questions."

"They have no difficulty completing that. But we didn't think it was appropriate either. So we have ended the Afrikaans test, because it doesn't make any sense."

The budget airline previously told Insider that the test was introduced  "due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports." The South African Department of Home Affairs recently accused criminals of creating fake passports for sale in South Africa.

In a statement previously sent to Insider, Ryanair said that South African customers would be unable to travel if they could not complete the language test. The test included questions such as identifying the highest mountain in the country and which side of the road people in South Africa drive on.

The questionnaire has been widely slammed, including by the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa, which labelled the test a "backward profiling system." 

Dinesh Joseph, who was required to take the test by Ryanair told Insider's Urooba Jamal that it was "callous" and "insensitive."

Afrikaans, which was historically used under apartheid, is only one of 11 official national languages in South Africa and is not used by everybody there, Joseph added.

Ryanair did not immediately respond to Insider's request for further comment on the test being scrapped.

The UK High Commission in South Africa confirmed in a tweet that the test was not a requirement for South African passport holders to enter the UK.

The EU Delegation to South Africa also confirmed to Insider that the language test is not a requirement for South African passport holders entering the European Union.


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