PAF F-16s Intercepted SpiceJet Delhi-Kabul Flight After Mid-Air Confusion

PAF F-16s Intercepted SpiceJet Delhi-Kabul Flight After Mid-Air Confusion
Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping

According to India media reports,  on September 23 a SpiceJet aircraft on its way to Kabul from New Delhi with 120 passengers on board was intercepted by Pakistan Air Force fighter jets which then escorted the airliner out of the country’s airspace last month, sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

According to DGCA officials, there was confusion over the “call-sign” assigned to the Boeing 737 aircraft when it entered Pakistani airspace prompting the interception.

The aircraft was asked to lower its altitude by the Pakistani Air Force fighters, which news agency ANI reported were F-16s.

The pilots of the SpiceJet flight communicated with Pakistani Air Force fighters, identifying themselves as a commercial airliner.

The Spicejet aircraft was allowed to continue its flight and was escorted until it entered Afghan airspace.

DGCA officials declined to share further details given the sensitivity of the matter. SpiceJet has not commented on this incident so far.

There was no immediate comment from the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.

Amid tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad after Balakot airstrikes in February, Pakistan had closed its airspace to India. But it opted for a partial opening again in July.


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