Thursday, August 27, 2009

India scrambles fighter to intercept Air France plane

India on Thursday scrambled a fighter jet to intercept a Bangkok-bound Air France passenger plane after the airliner failed to identify itself correctly, the air force said. A Russian-built MiG-29 took off to intercept Air France flight 164 from Paris after it transmitted incorrect identification codes upon entering Indian airspace, air force spokeswoman Flight Lieutenant Priya Joshi said.

Joshi said the pilot of the Airbus did not identify the airliner as a “friendly” aircraft, which prompted a military airbase in northern India to scramble the fighter. “It was only later that the aircraft started transmitting the correct secondary radar response code and was picked up and identified by air defence radar as a civil airliner of Air France,” Joshi said. The MiG-29 was then given instructions to “break off and return to base,” Joshi said, adding that the air force had filed a report with India’s civil aviation authorities.

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