The Indian Air Force (IAF) Sunday scrambled a fighter jet after a passenger aircraft entered Indian airspace from Pakistani side displaying identification code identical to the code provided by another aircraft that had already entered the Indian airspace a short while ago.
The passenger aircraft belonging to Turkish Airlines was heading towards Delhi.
The duplication of transponder code alerted the IAF base in Jodhpur which then scrambled a Mig-21 Bison aircraft as per the protocol. IAF spokesperson Group Captain Gerard Galway said, “A Bison aircraft was scrambled at 8.31 am to visually identify and intercept, if required, an unidentified track that entered the Indian airspace. It was allowed to proceed after identification.”
Commercial airlines are issued unique identification codes so as to establish their identity along with parameters such as speed, altitude, direction before entering the airspace of a country. According to sources, the said passenger aircraft transmitted identification code of another aircraft of the same airline company, which had already entered the Indian airspace.
IAF officials said duplication of identification code is a “goof up” which the airline or the Air Traffic control (ATC) need to look into.
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A Delhi ATC official said that an aircraft transmitting identification number of another aircraft is an error on part of the individual aircraft and not with the issuing agency which generates unique identification codes using computers.