Indonesian F-16 fighter jets force Ethiopian cargo plane to land over airspace breach

Indonesian F-16 fighter jets force Ethiopian cargo plane to land over airspace breach

Two Indonesian F-16 fighter jets forced an Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane to land on Monday at an airport on Batam island after it had flown into Indonesian airspace without permission, an air force spokesman said.

Air force spokesman First Marshal Novyan Samyoga said in a statement the Boeing Co 777 cargo plane had been secured by air force personnel at Hang Nadim international airport on Batam, an island south of Singapore.

The Indonesian F-16 jet fighters based in Pekan Baru of Riau provincial capital city ambushed the Ethiopian aircraft in the western airspace of Indonesia and compelled it to land in a nearby Hang Nadim international airport in Batam Island of western Indonesia, near Singapore, the spokesman said.

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“For an investigation, the aircraft is secured by air force personnel in Hang Nadim airport in Batam,” he said in a statement.

The flight ETH 3728 was heading to China’s Hong Kong after leaving the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the spokesman said.

In March 2011, two Indonesian Sukhoi jet fighters forced down a Pakistan passenger plane with 49 passengers and 13 crew in an ambush in central parts of Indonesia.

The passenger plane was coerced to land in Sultan Hasanudin airport in Makasar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi province after flying the Indonesian airspace without a permit.

The cargo flight ETH 3728 had been flying from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Hong Kong.

Officials at Ethiopian Airlines said the plane had made an urgent unscheduled flight to drop an aircraft engine in Singapore for maintenance.

“(The plane) was crossing the Indonesian airspace in accordance with the ICAO Chicago Convention Article 5, by which a non-scheduled flight can overfly the airspace of a friendly country without prior permission,” the email from the airline read.

Ethiopian Airlines had explained to Indonesia and the crew was now resting in a hotel before continuing their flight, the airline said.

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