A Spanish airline Iberia plane [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Spanish airline fell into controversy Wednesday evening after a pilot for Iberia allegedly said "Welcome to Palestine" while landing in Tel Aviv, according to AFP.
"My family and I were terribly offended," one passenger wrote to the company following the episode, which was widely reported in Israeli media.
Madrid's envoy to Israel immediately called Iberia to complain and condemned the incident, AFP added.
Iberia responded with an apology following the incident. However, after concluding an internal investigation, the airline said that the controversy was a result of a misunderstood Spanish word.
"The word 'Palestine' was not used in the announcement," according to a statement released by Iberia.
"The captain adhered to the standard format, in which only the airports of origin and destination are named, and not countries, regions or territories," the airline added.
The airline continued by saying the misunderstanding possibly stemmed from the "similar sound of the Spanish word 'destino', meaning 'destination, with 'Palestina'."
The airline added that it regretted if anyone was offended by the incident.
Earlier this year, a French airline was subjected to harsh criticism after an Air France in-flight map omitted Israel,
according to a passenger who sent a photo to the Facebook page of the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs.
Air France issued an apology, saying they “deeply regret this incident, due to a map scale and display problem which is currently being resolved.”