Belgrade's Nikola Tesla airport puts Tel Aviv in "Palestine"

The Israeli embassy in Serbia has condemned and described as "unacceptable" a recent incident at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport, Beta agency is reporting.

Source: Beta, ynetnews.com
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

It concerns passengers traveling from Belgrade to Tel Aviv being told ahead of a recent flight that "boarding had begun for the flight to Palestine."

Israeli media are reporting that this happened on August 29, ahead of Air Serbia's JUO 816 night flight.

According to Ynet News, this "created uproar at the airport, with Israeli passengers refusing to get on the plane until the correct announcement was made."

The airline representatives then reportedly told two Israeli passengers who protested that "the flight is to Tel Aviv, not to Israel."

An unnamed passenger is quoted as saying: "To our surprise, one of the airport employees asked over the PA system that 'passengers for flight 816 with service to Palestine please come to gate C3.' She repeated this several times."

The passenger then complained to the Israeli embassy in Belgrade.

"This is a very disturbing incident, which requires an investigation with the relevant authorities and the airline. It's inconceivable that an airport employee with a microphone can try and change reality in such a defiant and false manner. The Israeli embassy in Serbia will deal with this issue, making it a high priority," said Emanuel Nachshon, a spokesperson of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

According to Ynet News, Israeli Ambassador to Serbia Alona Fisher-Kamm "spoke to the CEO of Air Serbia" who apologized and "promised that the issue would be dealt with immediately to ensure it would not happen again."

"He (the CEO) expressed shock at the incident and even noted that this is the first time such an incident occurs, and that he considered it to be completely unacceptable. He said that the airline's employees were not allowed to openly express a political position while wearing an Air Serbia uniform," the report added, quoting him as saying that "this political position doesn’t reflect the company's position."

The article added that an internal investigation revealed it was "an airport worker who made the offending announcement, and not one of the airline's employees," and that "Air Serbia asked the airport to find the worker and discipline her due to the damage she caused to the airline."

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