IAF scrambles fighter jets after bomb scare on Iranian passenger plane in Indian airspace
According to PTI, the Delhi ATC received inputs from the Lahore ATC that there was a bomb threat on the Mahan Air flight. Subsequently, the Delhi ATC informed the pilots but they decided to fly on
New Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Monday said it scrambled its fighter jets after receiving information of a bomb scare on a China-bound Iranian civilian plane that was flying over the Indian airspace.
An intimation was received of the bomb scare on an airline bearing Iranian registration, when it was transiting through Indian airspace, the IAF said, adding the plane was offered the option to land at Jaipur or Chandigarh but the pilots refused to divert.
According to ATC sources, the Mahan Air flight W581 was on its way from Tehran to Guangzhou in China when an alert was triggered.
“IAF fighter aircraft were scrambled, which followed the aircraft at a safe distance. The aircraft was offered the option to land at Jaipur and then, 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 which, the aircraft continued on its journey towards its final destination,” it said.
Sources said the IAF was informed about the bomb scare by the Delhi ATC and then, Sukhoi aircraft were scrambled by the IAF. It is learnt that the IAF scrambled Sukhoi aircraft from its bases in Punjab and Rajasthan.
Later, Iranian news agency IRNA, quoting a statement from Mahan Air, reported that the flight landed safely.
The news agency said the statement was released in reaction to the news regarding the bomb threat.
“As soon as the pilot was alerted about the possibility of a bomb attack, he informed the control tower and requested an emergency landing in India,” it said and added that such reports seem to be aimed at disturbing security and mental peace.
Meanwhile, a senior Delhi Police officer said they received a call about the bomb scare on an Iran-China flight from the Air Traffic Control but soon they were informed by the ATC that the flight was not landing in Delhi.
The IAF also said that all actions were taken by the force as per the laid down procedure, jointly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
It is learnt that the ATC at Delhi airport remained in contact with the IAF when the aircraft was in Indian airspace.
People familiar with the development said the Delhi ATC received inputs from the Lahore ATC that there was a bomb threat on the Mahan Air flight. Subsequently, the Delhi ATC informed the pilots but they decided to fly on.
As the aircraft did not follow the suggestion, laid down operational procedures were put into action, they added.
As per the flight tracking website Flightaware.com, flight W581 is being operated with an Airbus 340-600 aircraft.
There is no official statement so far on the incident from the civil aviation authorities as also the total number of people on board the plane.
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