Israel missing from Etihad's flight map

Etihad have erased Israel from their online flight map.

The official online interactive travel route map marks all the surrounding countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, but the area that marks Israel's border has been left blank.

Skift reports that the touchscreen maps for passengers on long-haul Etihad flights is also missing information about the Jewish state and its major cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which is also an important city for Muslims.

Justin Ross Lee, a Jewish travel expert from New York, told the New York Post that he refused to support an airline that discriminates. 

"As a frequent flier who holds both US and Israeli passports, I would sooner donate my miles to Hezbolla than travel on Etihad airways," said Lee, referring to the terror group.

"I'd probably be interrogated less."

But a spokesperson for Etihad Airways in Australia denied the claims: "We neither profile not discriminate against anyone based on their religious beliefs or faith.

"Allegations that we discriminate are wholly untrue.

"Any passenger with the correct documents is allowed to travel, as is the case with any airline in the world.

"Our in-flight maps are industry standard and do not identify countries by name. Our website lists 'Israel' as one of more than 150 country options for passenger documentation when booking flights."

The spokesman also pointed out that kosher meals are available on Etihad flights.

Israeli citizens are not allowed entry to the United Arab Emirates. While fellow UAE carrier Emirates also fails to show Israel on its route map, it avoids the controversy by only showing the cities the airline flies to.

In Australia, the rapidly expanding airline partners with Virgin Australia, of which it owns 19.9 per cent. Etihad CEO James Hogan said this week he wanted to add more flights to Australia and is pushing for a larger quota.

Under an air-rights agreement between Australia and the United Arab Emirates, Etihad will reach its allowed number of 35 flights a week to the major cities once it begins daily services to Perth in July. It has room for an extra seven flights a week, but would have to fly to a regional centre.