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Qantas responds to racist comments on its in-flight magazine cover

David Prestipino -

Qantas has expressed extreme disappointment racist remarks scribbled by a passenger on the cover of its in-flight magazine was seen by the husband of Olympian and former Indigenous federal senator Nova Peris.

Ms Peris posted a picture of the racist comments on social media after an elderly Italian woman sitting next to her husband Scott Appleton on board the flight with Qantas subsidiary Alliance Airlines brought them to his attention.

It is understood the racist remarks were on an in-flight magazine - that passengers recieve on board - situated in the seat next to Mr Appleton on a subsequent Darwin-Alice Springs flight on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Appleton subsequently handed the defaced material to a flight attendant on board, which the National Indigenous Times understands was removed by Qantas crew immediately.

"We are appalled that someone would make these racist remarks," a Qantas spokeswoman told the NIT.

Qantas' cleaners and crew monitor and regularly replenishes the airline's in-flight magazines and it was rare for passengers to graffiti them.

Mr Appleton said the two flight attendants on board the flight were shocked at the content on the cover of the magazine on board their service.

"They handled the situation very well, and were extremely sensitive in the way it was handled," Mr Appleton told National Indigenous Times.

Qantas has a long and proud history of Indigenous collaboration, beginning in 1983 when it sold Balarinji's Aboriginal-themed silk and superfine wool scarves on board, with the Indigenous business later central to the airline's long-running uniform textile, Wirriyarra.

"We are committed to supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and are proud that our crew acknowledge country for every flight landing in Australia," he said.

Australia's official airline noted it also had been a long-standing champion of Indigenous rights and the Yes vote, as well as collaborating on several business and artistic endeavours promoting Indigenous people, their culture and related products on board.

Mr Appleton said it was his understanding the aircraft he boarded had arrived at Alice Springs from Adelaide, before embarking on its journey to Darwin later that Tuesday afternoon.

Ms Peris' post prompted a member of Qantas' corporate affairs team to contact the Olympian, who told her the magazine had "been disposed of".

Qantas's in-flight magazine is provided for each passenger on every regional, interstate and international flight it or its subsidiaries operate.

A Qantas spokesperson earlier told National Indigenous Times the airline was "appalled" one of its customers had written the racist message, which also attacked the airline's protocol of acknowledging the land of the Traditional Owners of the Country its passengers are about to disembark on every flight it operates.


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