New Delhi, August 18
For a change, it was not yet another case of emergency landing when a business jet taking off from Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport landed in Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on Monday.
There were two incidents last month of Indian passenger flights operating on the middle-eastern route making stoppages at Karachi. On both occasions the halts were safety manoeuvres that the crew members were forced to resort to following detection of technical problems when they were cruising thousands of feet above the earth.
Owing to the sour relations between India and Pakistan, there is no direct flight service between the two countries. A passenger from either of the countries has to first go to a third country like the UAE and change the flight to travel to the neighbouring country by air.
Most of the news channels in Pakistan described the flight to Karachi undertaken by the aircraft originating from Hyderabad as a case of emergency landing by an Indian jet. In some quarters in Pakistan, there was apprehension that Pakistan might have agreed to let India use its airspace for some clandestine operation. “Such a thing never happened when Imran Khan was Prime Minister,” tweeted Rana Tassadduque Hussain, a supporter of Khan.
Across the border in India also, there have been speculation suggesting that the stopover by the plane at Karachi was owing to a glitch.
However, dispelling the mystery shrouding the flight, DGCA sources here said the business jet (Bombardier Global 5000) with call sign T7 – ROYAL, registered at San Marino, Europe, went to Karachi to pick up passengers heading for Dubai.
Chartered by the New Delhi-headquartered IFOS Aviation Services, the aircraft flew to Hyderabad from Dubai on Sunday (August 14) with six passengers who are associated with Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, Divi Pharma.
The aircraft halted at Hyderabad for the day when the services were taken care of by the Air India SATS. It flew to Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport the following day. It was empty except for the three crew members on board. In Karachi it picked up 12 passengers, all Pakistani businessmen, and flew to Dubai with them.
“There is no question of any glitch. The aircraft is not even registered in India. It stopped by at Karachi to pick up Dubai-bound passengers,” Arun Kumar, chief of the aviation regulator DGCA, told the Tribune.
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