Thursday, April 30, 2009
BMI wipes Israel off the map
J Post Staff
Cheap British carrier BMI, which launched lines flying to Tel Aviv in March, deleted Israel from electronic maps presented to passengers on its flights so as not to offend Islam, Army Radio reported Thursday afternoon. However, the orientation of Mecca, the direction to which Muslim face when they pray, is shown on the electronic screens. In the electronic maps presented on BMI flights to Tel Aviv, Israel or any of its cities are not marked, except for Haifa, which is spelled 'Khefa,' a transliteration of the Arab name of the city as it was called before 1948.
BMI operates many lines to Muslim destinations and presents the 'Mecca Compass' as a service to its many Muslim passengers. The company holds services from England to Syria, Lebanon and Iran, among other Muslim destinations.
Recently BMI signed an agreement with the Tourism Ministry in order top add Israel to its roster of destinations.
The company said in response that two planes flying to Tel Aviv were originally intended to arrive in Arab countries and therefore the map was tailored to the passengers and showed mainly sites holy to Muslims.
A "logistic failure" caused the map to be presented on the flight to Tel Aviv, a company statement said, and it will be removed from the planes flying to Tel Aviv. The company was making every effort not to hurt passengers' feelings by adopting a nonpolitical position, the statement added.