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Air India flight loses contact with ATC, escorted back to London by fighter jets
A London-Ahmedabad Air India flight lost contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) while flying over Hungary's airspace on Friday.
Sensing danger, the flight was escorted back by German and Belgian fighter jets back to Heathrow airport in London. The flight had sparked hijack fears after it lost radio contact with the ATC.
 
An Air India spokesperson said that the plane was carrying 231 passengers and had 18 crew members onboard when it lost contact with the ATC. He also said that the loss of contact was due to frequency fluctuation.
 
According to the spokesperson, the flight had taken off from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai at 07.00 hours and landed back safely at London's Heathrow Airport at 11.05 hours.
  
"Our head of flight safety is investigating how the plane lost contact for somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour during which, given its speed, it would have flown over 600-800 km crossing over at least two EU nations," Times of India quoted a senior AI official.
 
The Royal Air Force of Britain did not have to escort the Indian plane as by the time the plane entered British skies, the fault had been rectified.
 
This comes after a similar incident was reported on February 16 last month when a Jet Airways flight enroute from Mumbai- London had suffered a communication failure on board. This incident happened when the aircraft was flying over German airspace which forced German authorities to scramble fighter jets fearing a hijack. The Jet Airways flight was carrying 330 passengers and 15 crew members.
 
The communication failure that happened for a brief period while the aircraft was flying over Cologne, Germany was restored within minutes and the flight landed safely at its destination.
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