Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Private cargo aircraft forced to land at Mumbai

Mumbai: A private US-registered cargo aircraft Boeing 747 enroute from Nigeria to Hong Kong was forced to land here after the crew filed some "suspicious" flight plan.
The Boeing, belonging to cargo operator Atlas Air, according to its pilot, was enroute from Nigeria to Hong Kong, but was intercepted by air force fighters as the code it sent to air traffic control (ATC) pertained to military aircraft, sources said.
IAF sources said the pilot first claimed that the aircraft was a United States Air Force Boeing 747 flying from Nairobi to Hong Kong and sought clearance to enter Indian Air space at 0047 hours.
On being refused permission to enter the Indian air space, the pilot said it was coming in as a civil registered aircraft operated by Atlas Air.
"The aircraft was asked to land at Mumbai to verify its antecedents", an IAF spokesman said New Delhi.
"As the Boeing landed at 0303 hours, it was detained and the pilot and the crew were being questioned", the spokesman said.
"We checked the aircraft, which was found to be empty... and there were no passengers," sources said adding the plane may be permitted to take off after taking the necessary details.
31/07/06 PTI/The Hindu