Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has apologized for the mass denial of boarding of Jewish passengers, pledging to learn from the incident and assuring a prominent Rabbi in Berlin that such action is contrary to Lufthansa’s core values.
Lufthansa CEO Apologizes To Rabbi Of Berlin For Treatment Of Jewish Passengers, Suspends Employees Involved During Investigation
With the mainstream media picking up this story and broad disgust over Lufthansa’s apology, Spohr held a video meeting with Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, a Rabbi of Berlin’s Jewish Orthodox community.
DansDeals, which broke this story and has done a superb job of holding Lufthansa accountable, received a brief video clip from the meeting:
“Rabbi Teichtal said that the CEO’s apologies sounded genuine and personal, a far cry from the generic ‘apology’ that was published by the airline yesterday which ignored anti-Semitism and merely ‘regretted the circumstances.’ That non-apology also referred to the passengers on the flight as a group, when in fact there were many passengers who booked their own travel and were also denied boarding to Budapest.
“Mr. Spohr said that anti-Semitism has no place in his airline, but with over 100,000 employees, it’s always possible there are some bad apples. He said that point-blank this incident should never have happened and that employees involved have been suspended, pending the airline’s investigation into what happened. The CEO did not specify exactly which employees have been suspended.”
More importantly, Spohr indicated that Lufthansa’s investigation already revealed that the mass denial of boarding was not appropriate and that such treatment represents the antithesis of Lufthansa’s mission to connect people and cultures.
I will wait until an investigation is complete to make a final judgment on the matter, but that won’t stop me from pointing out what appears to be a clear-cut case of disgusting discrimination, with travelers lumped together merely on the basis of their appearance as Orthodox Jews. In a society that embraces human dignity and the equal justice, such conduct must be condemned.
While not an official apology, Spohr has met with a prominent Orthodox Rabbi in Berlin via video conference and plans an in-person meeting next week. According to Rabbi Teichtal, Spohr’s apology appeared sincere and unequivocal. As an investigation continues, Lufthansa has suspended at least one employee involved.