Korean Air now apologises over offensive advert
Posted Monday, June 18 2012 at 19:11
Korean Air apologises over offensive advert that said Kenyans are full of primitive energy
Korean Air has apologised for describing Kenyans as “primitive” in an online advertisement launching direct flights to Nairobi.
Part of the advert, which has generated heated debate on social media, reads in part: “Fly to Nairobi with Korean Air and enjoy the grand African savanna, the safari tour, and the indigenous people full of primitive energy.”
On Monday, the state-owned airline used Twitter to apologise and withdrew the advert from its website.
“Regarding our recent promotional notice of Nairobi, we are checking on this issue accordingly. We sincerely apologise for this situation,” the airline posted on Twitter at 11.22 am.
“The recent feedback of our notice of Nairobi had been removed from our website, and we will resume the page after revision.”
The carrier will start three non-stop flights between Incheon and Nairobi from June 21 in what was expected to increase the country’s grip on Kenya’s household electronics market where it has taken leadership from Japan.
The words “primitive energy” annoyed many Kenyans on social media who demanded an apology.
“After ‘checking’, it will be appropriate to issue an apology to “Kenyans on your website and mass media,” Kimunya Mugo told the airline on Twitter.
This was followed by a series of Twitter messages, some angry: “You’d better be thoroughly apologetic. We are not very pleased with our primitive energy,” said Nick Walubengo.
Nomkhoni Warui added: “Seems like they have realised that the people they thought were primitive aren’t after all.”
South Korea has stepped up export of electronic products to Kenya, exerting pressure on traditional source markets such as Japan and increasing travel between Nairobi and the Asian nation.
Its exports to Kenya have increased from Sh8.2 billion in 2008 to Sh29.7 billion last year while passenger travel between the two nations has increased four-fold over the past three years — watering the market for carriers like Korean Air.
Its entry is expected to increase pressure on Kenya Airways as Asian and Middle East airlines increasingly expand across Africa in a market that draws nearly half of the national carrier’s revenues.
The airlines, including Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Royal Air Jordanian, are opening more routes in the continent and are looking to connect the bulk of Africa’s travellers to the rest of the world through their Middle East hubs.
KQ has also been pursuing this strategy of connecting African travellers to Europe, Middle East and Asia through its Nairobi hub and the continent routes generates 49 per cent of its Sh85.8 billion revenue.