A Kabul-bound Indian SpiceJet commercial plane was reportedly intercepted by Pakistani F-16 fighters after Pakistan mistook the flight to be that of the Indian Army or Indian Air Force.
According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials, there was confusion over the "call-sign" assigned to the Boeing 737 aircraft when it entered Pakistani airspace on September 23. The call sign, together with a flight number, is the aircraft identification for radio voice communications with air traffic personnel.
Pakistan Air Traffic Control misunderstood the SpiceJet flight's "SG" code as "IA," presuming it to be that of the Indian military.
After intercepting the SpiceJet flight with 120 persons onboard, the scrambled F-16s asked the pilot of the passenger plane to lower its altitude and report details of the airplane to them. It was later escorted out of Pakistani airspace, Indian media reported.
"The SpiceJet aircraft was escorted out of Pakistani airspace till it entered Afghanistan as soon as the confusion was cleared," a DGCA official said.