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  India   All India  11 Mar 2017  AI flight loses ATC contact over Hungary

AI flight loses ATC contact over Hungary

Published : Mar 11, 2017, 1:22 am IST
Updated : Mar 11, 2017, 5:58 am IST

Fighter jets scrambled to escort plane on way to London from Ahmedabad.

(Representational Image)
 (Representational Image)

New Delhi: In second instance of a European fighter aircraft escorting the plane of an Indian carrier in a month, a London-bound Air India aircraft from Ahmedabad was escorted by a fighter aircraft after it lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) while flying over Hungary.

According to British media reports, for about two hours, Hungarian, German and Belgian fighter aircraft “shadowed” an Air India plane, which was bound for London after taking off from Ahmedabad. According to news agency reports, the plane, with 231 passengers and 18 crewmembers onboard, lost contact with the ATC due to “frequency fluctuation”.

In a statement, India’s national carrier said, “AI 171 Ahmedabad-London-Newark flight, after departing as per schedule at 7am on Friday morning, lost communication with the local ATC while flying over Hungary for a short while.

The flight landed safely at Heathrow at 11.06am local time as per schedule. The airline is enquiring into the incident.” British media reports said the fighter aircrafts were scrambled after the plane entered the airspace over Hungary around 8.15am but it failed to make radio contact, sparking fears it had been hijacked or was in trouble.

The escort was continued by the German air force before Belgian F-16s intercepted the plane, taking it over Belgium and the Netherlands, these reports said, adding that by the time the plane entered British skies, the fault had been rectified and it did not require the Royal Air Force (of Britain) to escort it down.

On February 16, a Jet Airways aircraft with 345 people on board suffered temporary communication breakdown for “a few minutes” with German Air Traffic Control over Germany while flying from Mumbai to London, and was escorted by German air force aircraft that were scrambled after the authorities apparently panicked. That flight, too, had landed safely.

Tags: boieng 787-800, air traffic control