Barcelona City council has also said it will ask the public prosecutor to investigate whether a hate crime was committed.
The incident, in which a man hurled racial insults at a 77-year-old woman seated next to him calling her “an ugly black b*astard”, was filmed by a fellow passenger who posted it on social media.
The backlash against Ryanair has been huge and provoked calls for a boycott after staff at the budget airline failed to remove the man from the plane or immediately report him to police.
Instead a member of cabin crew moved the woman to another seat and allowed the man who had racially assaulted her to continue his journey.
Essex police said they received a report from Ryanair on Sunday morning – after the video showing the incident went viral. On Tuesday the force said they had identified the man and had passed the information to their counterparts in Spain.
“We have worked to identify both parties involved in this incident and passed this information to the Spanish authorities,” a spokeswoman for Essex police said.
“Our officers will continue to provide assistance where necessary throughout the course of this case.”
The Guardia Civil has said it will begin the formal investigation when the paperwork arrives from the UK.
Meanwhile, Barcelona City Hall has said it will refer the case to the public prosecutor in order to see whether a case can be brought for hate crime as the incident happened when the plane was on Spanish soil.
Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor Jaume Asens spoke out against the “racist” behaviour of the man and the“unacceptable” response by Ryanair and said an investigation would be launched.
‼️Unacceptable response from @ryanair to this racist behaviour! BCN city hall will report it. We're looking for the video-maker and witnesses (flight FR015 BCN-London). Contact us [email protected]https://t.co/wQwdTAjDec
— Jaume Asens (@Jaumeasens) October 22, 2018
Spain’s air safety agency (AESA) will also investigated Ryanair over the incident, according to El Pais, it will be checking if “the conditions are met for the person who caused the situation to be disciplined as a conflictive passenger, according to current legislation.”