SpiceJet flight intercepted by Pakistani F-16s after code mix-up

Passengers told to close blinds and remain silent as flight with 120 people on-board is intercepted by military jets
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File image.
File image.

Two Pakistani F-16 fighter jets intercepted a SpiceJet flight with 120 people on-board amid tensions between India and Pakistan.

The commercial flight, bound for Kabul, was flying in Pakistani airspace when the incident occurred last month.

It was reported that the SpiceJet flight was given a military flight code instead of a commercial one, which led to confusion on the ground and resulted in the two jets being scrambled.

Sources said that the SpiceJet flight had been given an ‘IA’ code, causing Pakistani air traffic control to believe it could be an Indian Air Force plane.

According to media reports, the F-16 pilots requested that the SpiceJet plane lower its altitude and gave its flight details.

One of the passengers told Gulf News that the fighter pilot used hand signals to instruct the SpiceJet flight to lower its altitude.

They said: “At the time when Pakistani F-16s were flying around their flight, all passengers were asked to shut their windows and maintain silence.”

The F-16s escorted the flight out of Pakistani airspace as it continued its journey to Kabul.

SpiceJet’s flight landed safely and was delayed by around five hours on its return journey due to the paperwork resulting from the mix-up.

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