Jet flight on blink with 345 on board; German fighters give wake up call

No lessons have been learnt by Indian flight operators, despite the civil aviation regulator raising multiple alarms and taking action against erring players.

Published: 20th February 2017 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2017 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

A TV grab of German fighter aircraft guiding the Jet Airways flight from Mumbai, carrying 330 passengers, after it lost contact on its way to London

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: No lessons have been learnt by Indian flight operators, despite the civil aviation regulator raising multiple alarms and taking action against erring players.

In a shocking case of passenger safety being compromised, reported earlier this week, a Jet Airways flight, that was on its way from Mumbai to London, lost contact with ground while it was over German airspace. It was then escorted by German fighter planes, before making a safe landing at its destination, the airlines said on Sunday.

The aircraft reportedly suffered a communication failure on board, forcing German authorities to scramble fighter jets fearing a hijack.

The incident occurred on February 16 when the Mumbai- London flight 9W-118, with 330 passengers and 15 crew members on board lost contact with Air Traffic Control for a “brief period” while flying over Cologne, Germany.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Jet Airways said the pilots of its Boeing-777 lost contact due to a reported communication failure. “However, communication was safely restored within minutes and the flight landed at its destination without any hitch,” it said.

The airline has de-rostered pilots of the flight pending an investigation and reported the matter to the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation.

“The German Air Force scrambled its fighter jets to ensure the safety of the flight and its passengers as a precaution,” it added in the statement issued on Sunday.

There are several reports doing rounds on the actual cause of the incident. While some claimed that the Air Traffic Control radio contact with the aircraft was restored via the emergency frequency, about 60 nautical miles north of Nuremberg in Germany, others claimed wrong frequency digits used by the crew to be the real cause.

“The crew tuned to 132.980MHz while the correct frequency was 132.890MHz,” they claimed. These reports, however, could not be independently verified by Express.

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