KLM Staff Under Investigation After Reports Of Racist Comments

A video surfaced on Thursday where ground crew at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport wearing KLM gear could be seen and heard directing racist and discriminatory comments at a departing plane. The airline has now confirmed that the man in the video is a ground service employee and says that appropriate action will be taken.

KLM Staff Under Investigation After Reports Of Racist Comments
KLM is investigating a member of staff for racist commentary on the apron. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

‘One-way ticket for everyone!’

While a Royal Air Maroc plane was taxiing from the gate towards the runway at Schiphol, a man, wearing a yellow KLM safety vest, can be heard cheering and exclaiming in a celebratory voice,

“Yes, yes, there goes another full box of Moroccans back to Morocco. A one-way ticket for everyone! Get out, get out!” 

The video has been shared on social media by local Amsterdammers and others who were not impressed by the man’s behavior and commentary. KLM first replied in a private message to the uploader. Apart from a more official response, the airline also said it hoped that the video would be removed, as can be seen in a screenshot from the conversation.

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Man confirmed as KLM employee

A KLM spokesperson shared the following statement with Simple Flying on Friday morning,

We were shocked by the contents of a video on social media, showing personnel in a KLM vest and work gear cheering at the sight of an aircraft taking off to Morocco. The people in the video can be heard making unacceptable comments. Regrettably, we have had to conclude that at least one Ground Services employee was involved in this video.”

The airline further stated that the man’s comments were contrary to its core values as a company. There is no place for this kind of behavior, neither within KLM or the broader airline community, the carrier said, and ‘appropriate action’ would therefore be taken. 

Royal Air Maroc 737-800
The commentary was directed at a departing Royal Air Maroc flight on an unspecified date. Photo: Fillis75 via Wikimedia Commons

The exact date when the video was recorded is unknown. Royal Air Maroc is currently flying to Amsterdam, operating a Boeing 737-800 once daily from Casablanca. This means that the video could be fairly recent and recorded on any given day. What repercussions could potentially be in store for the man in the video remains unclear.

Boeing has fired over 60 people for racist and discriminatory behavior over the past year. Photo: Boeing

Not a solitary case

In May this year, planemaker behemoth Boeing revealed that it had let go of as many as 65 of its employees on the grounds of racist, discriminatory, or hateful conduct. The sweep took place over a period of 11 months and included the disciplining of an additional 53 workers.

A few years prior, a large scandal unfolded as the former Executive President of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) was found to have sent e-mails containing racist slurs to a Boeing 777 pilot. Another four pilots were suspended by British Airways at the time due to racist and discriminatory communication.