Ryanair orders South Africans to take Afrikaans quiz to enter UK

Ryanair orders South Africans to take Afrikaans quiz to enter UK
The tail fins of passenger aircraft, operated by Ryanair Holdings Plc, on the tarmac at London Stansted Airport, operated by Manchester Airport Plc, in Stansted, U.K., on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. The U.K. will no longer require vaccinated travelers to take a Covid-19 test before boarding a flight to the country, after airlines hard-hit by the omicron variant lobbied for the rules to be eased. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) --Ryanair Holdings Plc is ordering South Africans traveling to the UK to complete a list of questions in Afrikaans to prove their identity -- only one of 11 official languages spoken in the country.

Europe’s largest low-cost airline imposed the measure to prevent the use of fraudulent passports, the company said in a statement on Monday.

“If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused travel and issued with a full refund,” Ryanair said.

The quiz contains 15 general knowledge questions about South Africa, including a multiple choice to identify the nation’s capital, according to a copy published by the Beeld newspaper. Others asked which side of the road people drive on and the name of the country’s highest mountain.

Afrikaans is the third-most spoken first language in South Africa, behind Zulu and Xhosa. It is a legacy of the earliest colonists from the Netherlands in the 17th century, and was a cause of contention during the apartheid era over attempts to enforce its use in schools.

News of the measure prompted a backlash on South African social media over the weekend. Alex Macheras, an independent aviation analyst, called it “categorically insane and discriminatory.”

–With assistance from Rene Vollgraaff.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

By John Bowker and Siddharth Philip
Jun 6, 2022, 11:50 AM – Updated on Jun 6, 2022, 11:50 AM
Word Count: 197


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jos Verschoor says:

    I don’t understand this story, Ryan Air is not the authority for checking passports to my knowledge, that is done by the relevant passport control authorities (Border Control) not the airline. The airline checked the validity of the flight ticket, and subsequently the boarding ticket, and the pilot flies the plane. So who is overstepping their authority? Unless everything has changed since I’ve flown last, that is how it works. I’m mistyfied.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    So we use another low cost airline! if Ryanair new the drama Afrikaans caused when the previous government attempted to make it compulsory they would hang their heads in shame. is PW Botha on their Board from down under where he belongs??????

  • Rodgers Thusi says:

    There are a lot of questions asked in my first language whose answers I do not know. What happens when an Afrikaans first language speaker fails to answer some of the questions correctly? It could also be a question of Western ignorance – Since you are South African, you must speak Afrikaans, like a Namibian must speak Namib and a Nigerian must speak Niger.

  • Peter Doble says:

    Outrage from whom? Is it perhaps more pertinent to ask why fraudulent passport holders might speak one of the other languages? Where is the real seat of power anyway🤭

  • Christopher Bedford says:

    How many people – even those who don’t have a working knowledge of Afrikaans – could name SA’s highest mountain? The alleged correct answer doesn’t ring any bells with me or anyone I know. Maybe it has been renamed from a “colonial legacy” name it had before, but who has kept up with those names? They might as well have asked what are the new names of Pietersburg, Potgietersrus, and Naboomspruit. I have heard there were people refused boarding for getting just one wrong answer. Arrogant, out of touch, unnecessary.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    “Afrikaans is the third-most spoken first language in South Africa, behind Zulu and Xhosa.”
    “First language” – how disingenuous to add this sneaky little rider.
    The majority of South Africans understand English and/or Afrikaans. An Afrikaans test is a valid way to check your SA credentials.
    Instead of giving advice on an alternate way to determine fraudulent SA passport documentation, all you can do is offer this criticism to an airline that has to bear the cost brunt of illegal/fraudulent travellers using cheaply bought SA passports. Disgraceful.

  • Pieter Schoombee says:

    A blunt instrument, but IMO very funny.

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