A serving, Asian, British Airways captain and a one-time BA captain have written to the The Independent following its front-page story at the weekend alleging racism on the flight-deck. full text below also.
BA treats an Asian pilot with respect
Sir: I am astounded by the irresponsible article and the comments made by Captain Maughan on the front page of The Independent (26 April).
As a British Airways captain of Indian origin who has worked for BA for 19 years, I have nothing but the highest praise for the dignity and respect with which I have been treated by all my colleagues. This is a sentiment that is shared by many other Asian pilots in the company, who find BA a most inclusive company. The airline sponsored my flying training; given my family's deteriorating trade in shop-keeping, my flying career would otherwise have been out of reach.
BA provided a Boeing 747 aircraft to carry relief to Gujarat following the earthquake in 2001 and continued to ship mercy goods for as long as required. This was crewed by volunteers, predominantly of British origin. BA has secured the total loyalty of my community's Hindu priests who, due to the airline's impeccable cultural understanding and involvement in the community, have made BA their preferred carrier.
My community and I have had much to thank BA and its staff for. That a non-Asian pilot presumes to speak on my behalf is far more offensive than any racism I have ever encountered.
Sir: Your article is far from accurate. I knew First Officer Maughan when I was training captain in British Airways and can recall the incident to which he refers. The comment by a fellow training captain was reported correctly in so far as the use of the word "coon" is concerned, however it was taken completely out of context.
Maughan caused many contemporaries frustration in his attempts to turn good-humoured banter, which is normal in his operating environment, into a political statement.
Captain Andrew FAWKES