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IAF Allows US Plane To Fly Out Of India

The India Air Force has granted the US military chartered aircraft to take off after sustained investigations on Sunday afternoon. The DGCA will now decide when the plane can actually fly out of Indian airspace.

PTI [ Updated: October 18, 2009 14:42 IST ]
iaf allows us plane to fly out of india
iaf allows us plane to fly out of india

The India Air Force has granted the US military chartered aircraft to take off after sustained investigations on Sunday afternoon. The DGCA will now decide when the plane can actually fly out of Indian airspace.

Earlier the American chartered aircraft with 205 passengers, including US marines on board, was forced to land at Mumbai airport on Sunday for alleged violation of the Indian airspace.

The plane was on way from Fujiriah in the UAE to Bangkok, a Mumbai International Airport Limited spokesperson said.

"A US aircraft with 205 passengers, including its crew and US troops on board was made to land in Mumbai while overflying Indian airspace as there was some confusion about its call sign," he said.

The aircraft landed at Mumbai airport at 0752 hours and has been parked at a remote bay, he said, adding all passengers are on board the plane.

Giving details of the incident, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander T K Singha said in Delhi that the aircraft is a US military chartered Boeing 767 plane belonging to North American Airlines.

"It is a transport aircraft, which was going to Utapao in Bangkok from Fujiriah in UAE. It had civilian clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation to fly over Indian airspace. However, it was carrying military personnel, for which the aircraft should have obtained Air Operation Routing clearance (AOR), needed for a military aircraft," he said.

"Once it entered Indian air space, the IAF ordered the aircraft through radio communication to land in Mumbai, to which it complied with. An inquiry is on in the matter."

"We are aware of the situation, and are in touch with relevant officials to resolve this issue, which is a routine matter," a US embassy spokesperson said in Delhi.

This is the fourth such incident of a foreign aircraft violating Indian airspace since June this year.

On June 20, a Ukrainian-made military cargo aircraft AN-124, operated by a Russian private airline Volga-Dnepr and chartered by US defence forces for flying out military equipment from its base in Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean to Kandahar in Afghanistan, had violated Indian airspace.

The IAF had ordered it to land in Mumbai as the aircraft did not have AOR clearance. It was detained for 24 hours and was asked to fly out only after it obtained the necessary clearance.

On August 27 this year, the IAF radar in Punjab had picked up an Air France aircraft (A-343) flying from Paris to Bangkok, as it did not have a proper identity.

The IAF scrambled MIG-29 figher jets from Punjab to intercept the aircraft and it was asked to identify whether it was a friend or a foe.

Similarly in the first week of September, a China-bound cargo plane of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force was detained and its ten crew members including the pilot were questioned after customs officials found arms and ammunition on board the aircraft. The plane had made a scheduled transit landing at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport, Kolkata.

The C-130 plane was on its way to Hanyang in China from Abu Dhabi and had landed at the N S C Bose airport to refuel.

The crew members had not informed in the routine declaration submitted to authorities that arms and ammunition were in the plane, which, however, had the required civil and military clearance for transit through Kolkata.

It was said that the particular column in the proforma was left blank by the airline authorities.

After diplomatic interference, the UAE requested Indian government to release the aircraft and it was allowed to leave after being detained for five days.

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