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Delhi-Kabul SpiceJet aircraft intercepted by Pakistan Air Force: sources

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 18 October 2019, 13:08 IST

Kabul bound SpiceJet aircraft from New Delhi with 120 passengers on board was intercepted by Pakistan fighter jets which then guided the airliner out of it’s airspace last month, sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said. The occurrence happened on 23rd September.

As per DGCA officials, there was uncertainty regarding the call sign given to the Boeing 737 flight when it went through Pakistan airspace inducing the interception.

The SpiceJet flight was asked to lower its altitude by the Pakistani Fighter Jet, ANI reported.

The pilot of the SpiceJet airline communicated with Pakistani fighter jets, identifying themselves as a commercial airline.

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The flight was allowed to continue its journey and was ushered untill it entered Afghan airspace.

DGCA official turndown to put forth any further details given the sensitivity of the matter. SpiceJet also has not issued any official statement regarding the matter.

Pakistan had shutdown its airspace after the airstrike at Balakot on 26th February. But it opted for a partial opening in July. Later, its aviation minister stated his nation suffered loses of over 50 million dollars from the airspace ristrictions, Reuters reported.

Earlier, Pakistan disallowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace while travelling to the United States and President Ram Nath Kovind during his visit to Iceland.

Pakistani Foreign Miniter accredited their ruling to India’s recent behaviour, a reference to the government’s move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.

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India’s External Affairs Ministry stated that it regretted Pakistan’s resolution to disallow overflight clearance for the VVIP flights "which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country".

"Pakistan should reflect upon its decision to deviate from well-established international practice, as well as reconsider its old habit of misrepresenting the reasons for taking unilateral action," spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

First published: 17 October 2019, 19:15 IST