BMI expects the introduction of Airbus A330s on the Tel Aviv route to resolve an awkward matter with the in-flight entertainment systems on certain aircraft, which have been configured against displaying references to the state of Israel.

The airline's fleet includes a number of Airbus A320-family aircraft previously operated by British Mediterranean Airways (BMed), the franchise carrier it acquired two years ago.

But BMed specialised in serving Arab countries and, in light of regional sensitivities, the moving-map displays were configured to highlight sites such as Gaza and the holy city of Mecca but avoid referring to Israeli cities.

BMI says it wanted to use the newer BMed aircraft on the Tel Aviv route, and a spokesman for the carrier says the maps on a pair of the jets "should have been disabled altogether" - but were not.

He says that the carrier is rectifying the issue, de-activating the current maps and seeking new maps from its supplier that "will show Israel" once installed.

BMI has recently introduced a second frequency to Tel Aviv and it plans to switch to using Airbus A330s on the route from 3 May, a move which will not only provide a more spacious cabin but, says the carrier, also help resolve the unfortunate geographical faux pas.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news