A Jet Airways passenger aircraft with more than 300 people on board was escorted by German Air Force planes after it lost contact with Air Traffic Control during a flight from Mumbai to London on Thursday. The incident, a serious security scare, happened in German air space, prompting the Air Force to scramble the fighter jets to escort the Boeing 777 aircraft. Communication was restored eventually and the flight landed at London’s Heathrow airport without incident, the airline said.
Dramatic footage of the incident, posted by website Aviation Herald, showed the Jet Airways flight being escorted by two fighter jets – vapour trails billowing in their wake. NDTV cannot verify the authenticity of the video.
The report prompted Jet Airways to issue a statement today without commenting on the video. It said the crew of the flight had been grounded pending an investigation by India’s air safety regulator 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,” Jet Airways said.
“Communication was safely restored within a few minutes. As a precaution, the German Air Force deployed its aircraft to ensure the safety of the flight and its guests. The flight with 330 guests and 15 crew subsequently landed at London without incident,” it said.
“Jet Airways has duly reported the matter to the concerned authorities including the DGCA. As part of the standard process, the flight crew of 9W 118 has been de-rostered pending investigation,” it added.
According to Aviation Herald, the communication blackout happened when the air traffic control in Slovakia was handing over charge to the ATC in Prague. The website claims the blackout happened as the Jet Airways pilot chose a wrong frequency to communicate.