Passengers removed from flight over behaviour, not Jewishness, airline says

(JTA) – Dismissing reports that it discriminated against Jewish passengers in Spain, the British airline EasyJet accused the complainants of rowdy behaviour that caused a delay.

“Flight EZY3920 from Barcelona to Paris Charles de Gaulle on 1 May 2016 with 180 passengers on board returned to the gate in Barcelona and was met by police due to a group of passengers behaving in a disruptive manner,” EasyJet spokesman Andy Cockburn told JTA on Monday.

His account followed a JTA query for reaction from the low-cost airline on an article published Thursday on the news website jpupdates.com that said some passengers aboard the flight felt they had been removed from the plane because they were Jewish. But Cockburn denied the allegation, saying the passengers separated were taken by police for questioning due to their disruptive behaviour.

“All passengers were asked to disembark at the request of the police so they could speak to a small number of passengers in order to investigate the incident,” Cockburn said.

The plane took off after a delay of several hours.

Cockburn said he did not have information on hand on whether anyone had been indicted, but said the plane could not take off because of the behaviour of the passengers detained, as it would have meant breaking the company’s security procedures.

EasyJet “does not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour on board,” he said.

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