United Airlines CEO says sorry after man dragged off plane

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/united-airlines-ceo-says-sorry-after-man-dragged-off-plane-10834033">United Airlines CEO says sorry after man dragged off plane</a>

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has apologised for the forcible removal of a passenger from an overbooked flight in Chicago.

Following his initial defiance over the incident, Oscar Munoz has now said sorry for the way the passenger was handled during what he called a "truly horrific event".

Footage of a bloodied United Airlines passenger being dragged off an overbooked flight in Chicago on Sunday night has since gone viral.

The video - which has been watched more than 210 million times on China's Weibo social media platform alone - has caused concern among investors.

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) in the airline's parent company United Continental Holdings fell 4% earlier on Tuesday, but following Mr Munoz's second statement they recovered much of the loss to settle 1.5% lower.

:: Watch: Eyewitness describes plane fracas

In a statement to his team released on Tuesday, Mr Munoz said: "The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment.

"I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened.

"Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologise to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.

"I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right."

The letter shows a stark change in tone from an initial memo to employees in which Mr Munoz was unapologetic, blaming the incident on the fact that the passenger had "defied" security officers.

The first memo said there were lessons the company could learn, though he stressed that he "emphatically" stood behind his employees.

But the second statement continues: "It's never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again.

"This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivising volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement.

"We'll communicate the results of our review by 30 April. I promise you we will do better."

Following the incident on Flight 3411, the Chicago Department of Aviation has confirmed that one of its officers had not followed protocol and has been placed on leave pending a review of his actions.

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