Beijing - Air China said that it had removed copies of its inflight magazine containing an article telling visitors to take precautions when visiting areas of London with large ethnic-minority populations.

The state-owned airline, China's flag carrier, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the September issue of Wings Of China used “inappropriate” language and that the article didn't represent the airline's views.

“After discovering this problem, Air China immediately removed this magazine from all flights and demanded that the publishers of Wings Of China seriously learn from this lesson, strengthen their content review and avoid making similar mistakes,” the airline said.

It also forwarded an email from the magazine's publisher apologising to Air China and saying the fault lay with an “editing mistake.”

The original article in English read: “London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people.” It also advised tourists not to go out alone at night, and for women not to travel alone.

British lawmaker Vivendra Sharma, who represents a diverse London district, said that he had written to China's ambassador to Britain to demand an apology for the “blatantly untrue and racist statements.”

In the apology to Air China, China Aviation Media said the article ran “counter to our original intention to promote the beautiful scenes of London.”

“It has brought about misunderstanding from some media outlets and readers and also a huge negative impact on your company's business operations and image. We deeply apologise for that,” its statement read.

AP