A Spanish pilot for the Iberia airline announced that the plane was “landing in Palestine” as he was approaching Israel according to complaints made by people on board the flight.
Travellers said the captain made the announcement in Spanish and used the word Palestine in Spanish and then gave an update on the landing in English without mentioning either Palestine or Israel.
The airline has been investigating and has now said that the matter was a misunderstanding on the part of some of the passengers. They say that the pilot was completely in line with the standard format and mentioned only the airports of origin and destination.
Iberia maintain, after consulting the crew and passengers who speak Spanish, that the announcement in both languages was: “We´re now descending to land at our destination, Tel Aviv.”
The airline released a statement to say, “Both the company and the crew regret the misunderstanding and that some of our customers could have been offended by it.”
An Israeli passenger spoke to Israel’s Channel 2 TV, “We were just in shock, I don’t understand why he said that. We live in the State of Israel and he should have said ‘Israel’, he didn’t absentmindedly say it in English, it was intentional.”
Another passenger complained in a letter to Iberia and said, “My family and I were terribly offended. It was not at all acceptable and has done a disservice to your company.”