Pakistan Sent Two F-16 Planes Last Month To Intercept SpiceJet Flight
Pakistan last month scrambled two F-16 jets in its airspace to intercept a SpiceJet Ltd. place, assuming it to be a military aircraft, which was heading to Kabul from Delhi with around 120 passengers, a senior government official said.
The incident came in the backdrop of tension between India and Pakistan that had escalated after the Indian government revoked Jammu & Kashmir's special status on Aug. 5 and bifurcated it into union territories.
“On the morning of Sept. 23, the SpiceJet flight SG-21 left Delhi airport and was going through Pakistan’s airspace to Kabul. Pakistan scrambled two F-16 planes and intercepted the flight mid-air,” said the official.
The SpiceJet pilot was asked by F-16 pilots to lower the altitude and give flight details, the official added.
Another senior government official said, “On Sept. 23, Pakistan assumed that the SpiceJet flight, which had around 120 passengers, is an Indian Air Force plane. Once Pakistan realised that it is commercial flight, the F-16s escorted the SpiceJet plane till the Afghanistan airspace.”
“There was some mix up at the end of Pakistan's Air Traffic Control,” the second official added.
SpiceJet did not respond to the query sent by PTI on this matter.
Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on Feb. 26 after the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on Feb. 14 and fully opened it for all civilian traffic on July 16.