Hungary sent up two fighter jets last weekend to intercept a British Airways flight that entered the country’s airspace after losing contact with air traffic controllers.
British Airways flight BA108 was heading to Heathrow from Dubai when Hungarian air defence command detected its approach. The plane had apparently failed to alert ground control to its presence, according to a report in London’s Daily Telegraph.
The Hungarian Air Force scrambled two Gripen fighter jets to identify and escort the B777 after it crossed Hungary’s borders unannounced on Saturday afternoon.
Air safety protocols dictate that pilots must make contact with ground air traffic controllers when passing from one country’s airspace to another.
When the BA flight failed to do that, Hungarian authorities issued their highest alert and sent up a pair of Gripens, the paper said. The Gripen is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab.
The Telegraph quoted a BA spokesman saying: “Communication was quickly restored with air traffic control and the flight landed normally at Heathrow.”
Several similar incidents recently have seen civilian commercial flights trigger high-level security alerts, with passengers looking out the windows to see fighter aircraft flying close to them.
Written by Peter Needham