For 25 years, the Swiss airline carrier has turned off the in-flight maps at least half an hour before the plane lands in Tel Aviv. But flight LX252 apparently forgot to, reports Swiss daily Blick, causing quite a controversy among passengers, mainly because Swiss' map displays a former Palestinian village that no longer exists.
Stand With Us, a pro-Israeli American NGO, was unimpressed.
Swiss International Air Lines flight LX252 from Switzerland to #TelAviv, #Israel this past Thursday: the onboard flight map omits Tel Aviv and replaces it with the Arabic name of "Esh Sheikh Muwannis"— StandWithUs (@StandWithUs) October 3, 2018
Seriously Swiss Air? Write or tweet to Swiss Air: @FlySwiss pic.twitter.com/vMOiwhnXDJ
Keen to avoid falling into the quagmire of one of the world's most divisive conflicts, a spokesperson for the airline told Blick that the company is politically neutral and that the maps are installed by a third company. The village destroyed in 1948, Al-Shaykh Muwannis, was not supposed to feature. Today, the University of Tel Aviv is situated on the grounds of the destroyed village.
"We do not know by what criteria the places along the routes on the maps are selected," a Swiss spokesman told Blick. "We have already warned the manufacturer about the situation and asked him to remove places that no longer exist from the map."
Swiss International Air Lines Flug LX252 von der Schweiz nach #TelAviv, #Israel am vergangenen Donnerstag: Die Onboard Flugkarte lässt Tel Aviv aus und ersetzt sie durch den arabischen Namen "Esh Sheikh Muwannis"— Lillian H. Mueller (@lill_the_swiss) October 3, 2018
Ernsthaft?? @FlySwiss https://t.co/iIcUidQwm6
In August, the airline caused another political controversy by bowing to pressure from the Chinese government to display the Chinese flag next to Hong Kong on its booking system. Hong Kong is an autonomous region within China.
The airline's map blunder in Israel seems to have enraged and pleased many, depending on their worldview.
#Swiss Air flight map used the village Zionists ethically cleansed & razed (Esheikh Muwannis) instead of the name of the colony zionists built on its lands (Tel Aviv). It's epic how the truth always finds a way to appear & remind the thieves of their crimes. #JusticeWillPrevail pic.twitter.com/6sBPKLCd7F— Mαtthew Μinem (@mattiedegalilee) September 28, 2018