Air China stops Short of an Apology for In-Flight Magazine’s Racial Travel Advice

The in-house “Wings of China Office” reportedly apologized to Air China, the Chinese flagship carrier, for “some improper expressions” that had hurt the airline’s brand, according to a report filed by CNBC.

The statement was made in Chinese language.

“This is at odds with our original purpose of promoting the beautiful scenery of London, further triggering misinterpretations among media and readers and creating significantly negative impact on your company’s operation and brand image,” the magazine’s team said.

“The inappropriate expressions in the article are merely the mistakes made by the editors, but in no means represent the views of the magazine,” the statement continued.

“We will immediately withdraw all the publications, carefully learn this lesson, improve our management to make sure there will be no more similar mistakes. We also would love to send sincere apologies via Air China to all the readers and passengers who felt uncomfortable because of this.”

The September edition of Wings of China, which warned tourists, “London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people. We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when traveling,” the magazine said in a section called “Tips from Air China.”

This caused a furor which forced the apology.  The lawmakers in London called for an apology from the company as the travel advice picked up by media outlets as far away as Australia and India and caused outrage in London.

He was appalled that “blatantly untrue and racist statements” were considered fit for publication by Air China, Virendra Sharma, the Labor Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall, which has a big Indian population, told the BBC on Wednesday.

“I have invited representatives of Air China to visit my constituency of Ealing Southall to see that a very multi-cultural area is safe, and would be of great value for those visiting London to see,” he said.

On the other hand however, there was no apology from the Air China in a statement released by it. It said that it had ordered the removal of all copies of the magazine from its planes immediately and called the advice was “inappropriate”.

“Air China has also demand Wings of China editorial team learn the lesson, enhance content scrutiny so as to avoid similar issues from happening again. Air China always highly respects the cultures and traditions of people from different ethnicities in the world … Air China has hired a large amount of local employees in many places and everyone gets along with each other, jointly dedicated to building the bridges for cross-nation friendship and equal communication,” Air China said.

It was however difficult for the airline group to decide whether to apologize and where to lay blame for the debacle.

Just hours after news of the advice broke an apologetic statement was issued by the @AirChinaNA twitter handle operated by Air China’s North American business but subsequently deleted the tweet.

Some Twitter users had tweeted angrily to the airline over the comments in Wings of China.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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