IAF scrambled Sukhoi fighters after Iranian Passenger flight from Mahan Airlines reports bomb threat to Delhi ATC
|Representative Image|New Delhi: The IAF on Monday morning scrambled fighter jets to intercept and escort an Iranian Mahan Airlines flight transiting through Indian airspace after receiving information from the Lahore air traffic control (ATC) about a possible bomb on board the passenger aircraft. The Mahan Air flight W581, after hovering for around 40 minutes, was later allowed to continue on its pre-determined route to Guangzhou in China after Iranian authorities told their Indian counterparts to “disregard the bomb scare”, which was fake, officials said.
The Iranian aircraft, which later safely landed at Guangzhou, was shadowed by two Sukhoi-30MKI fighters as well as kept under close radar surveillance by the IAF till it left the Indian airspace.
|Image Source : The Times of India|The alert was triggered when the airliner, on its way to Guangzhou from Tehran, entered Indian airspace from Pakistan shortly after 9 am. “The Lahore ATC informed the Delhi ATC about the bomb scare on board the flight,” an official said.
IAF promptly swung into action to scramble a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter each from the Jodhpur and Halwara (Punjab) airbases, which “followed the aircraft at a safe distance”.
Mahan Air then requested the Delhi ATC to let the aircraft make an emergency landing in Delhi. The aircraft was even tracked reducing its altitude over the Delhi-Jaipur airspace for a brief time but the Delhi ATC directed it to divert to Jaipur. An IAF officer said, “The aircraft was offered the option to land at Jaipur and then later at Chandigarh. However, the pilot declared his unwillingness to divert to either of the two airports.” “After a while intimation was received from Tehran to disregard the bomb scare. Following this, the aircraft was allowed to continue on its journey towards its final destination,” he said. The IAF “took all actions” in accordance with the laid down standing operating procedures put in place jointly with the civil aviation ministry and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, he added.
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