Britain's BMI Airlines are suffering the wrath of Israeli passengers flying into Tel Aviv, due to an apparent glitch whereby Israel is left off of the in-flight map, AFP reports. BMI is denying any political agenda and cites the aircrafts' previous owners -- who flew predominately in Muslim countries. According to AFP:
But the airline denied any anti-Israel agenda and insisted there was a simple explanation: the planes were recently bought from a bankrupt charter company that flew mainly to Muslim countries.
"For this reason the inflight entertainment system in the two planes was made to adapt to the passengers flying to and from those destinations and therefore the map showed mainly places holy to Islam," BMI said in a statement.
For passengers flying into Tel Aviv, the outdated imaging software apparently refers to the city by its pre-1948 name, Haifa, the Jerusalem Post reports. With the recent outcry, the issue has been sufficiently called to BMI's attention. According spokesman Phil Shepherd speaking to Jerusalem Post:
"Because of the routes that [BMED] flew at that time, that's why the digital map was showing what it was showing... When we bought [BMED] out, we integrated it into BMI... The moving map should have been disabled when the software was updated, so the moving map shouldn't have been operating at all. It only came to light recently that it was still showing. We had a procedure to switch it off... when we started the Tel Aviv route... but for some reason it wasn't disabled."
Another quirk left over from the planes' previous owners that caters to Muslim passengers is a distance and direction counter for the plane's proximity to Mecca, according to Haaretz.