Ryanair Drops Afrikaans Test

Photo: AFP/Getty Images [via NBC News]

The Facts

  • Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary announced on Tues. that the airline has dropped a controversial requirement for South African travelers to take a quiz in Afrikaans to prove their nationality, which the SA government had labeled a "backward profiling system."

  • Last week, the Dublin-based budget airline confirmed the policy, saying it aimed to block passengers holding fraudulent South African passports from traveling to the UK. Ryanair mainly flies within Europe and has no routes to or from South Africa.

The Spin

Narrative A

South Africa's identity system can no longer be trusted due to fraudulent schemes that sell South African documents to foreign nationals. This is just the first example of what the nation's travelers may have to face if authorities cannot better ensure the credibility of documents.

Narrative B

This was an unjustified and discriminatory measure. Afrikaans, the language of the racist apartheid rulers, is only the third most spoken in the country. South Africa is working to put a stop to fraudulent schemes and has even allowed airlines to use its systems to verify the authenticity of documents.

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