China’s flag carrier Air China removed copies of its in-flight magazine Wings of China after outrage over its advice to travelers to avoid areas in London populated with Indians, Pakistanis and blacks, according to reports Thursday.
The state-owned airline said that the language used in the September issue of the magazine was “inappropriate” and did not reflect the company’s views.
“After discovering this problem, Air China immediately removed this magazine from all flights and demanded that the publishers of ‘Wings of China’ seriously learn from this lesson, strengthen their content review and avoid making similar mistakes,” the airline said.
The magazine’s team also issued a statement blaming the editors for the controversial content and expressed regret.
“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 magazine said. “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.”
In the initial advice, the magazine recommended travelers not to go out alone at night and urged women not to travel alone.
“London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people,” the article read.
The travel advice triggered uproar in London and lawmakers demanded an apology from Air China. British lawmaker Virendra Sharma, the Labor Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall that has a large Indian population, told BBC on Wednesday that he was upset that “blatantly untrue and racist statements” were thought to be fit for publication by the carrier.
“I have invited representatives of Air China to visit my constituency of Ealing Southall to see that a very multicultural area is safe, and would be of great value for those visiting London to see. I will await their response, and if an appropriate one is not forthcoming I shall feel forced to question whether Air China is a fit company to operate in the U.K.,” Sharma said.