Jet Airways’ Mumbai-London flight loses contact with ATC, intercepted by German fighter jets
A communication failure on board a Jet Airways aircraft flying in German airspace gave a scare to authorities, who feared a hijack and scrambled their fighter jets to intercept it mid-air.
The incident took place three days back when the Mumbai-London flight 9W-118, with 330 passengers and 15 crew members, lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) for a ‘brief period’ while flying over Cologne.
According to reports, the aircraft did not deviate from its original flight plan. However, since the pilots failed to respond to the ATC, it followed standard procedure and dispatched two fighter jets to intercept the aircraft.
The pilots of the Boeing-777 lost contact due to a reported communication failure, the Jet Airways said in a statement today.
However, the communication was safely restored within minutes and the flight landed at its destination without any hitch, the statement said.
The airline has de-rostered the pilots of the flight pending investigation and reported the matter to the civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“Contact between Jet Airways flight 9W-118 from Mumbai to London Heathrow, of February 16, 2017, and the local ATC, was briefly lost while flying over German airspace,” the airline statement said.
“As a precaution, the German Air Force (GAF) scrambled its fighter jets to ensure the safety of the flight and its passengers,” it said.
The communication was, however, safely restored within a few minutes, the statement said.
Military jets typically intercept a civilian aircraft if the pilots are unable to explain how the plane flew into their airspace without a pre-approved flight plan or deviated from the planned route.