Kabul-bound SpiceJet flight intercepted by Pakistani fighter jets last month

The flight, SG-21, which had taken off from New Delhi, had 120 passengers on board. (Representational Image)

A Kabul-bound Indian passenger plane was intercepted by Pakistani fighter jets over the latter's airspace last month. The incident happened amid growing tension between New Delhi and Islamabad since the Balakot airstrikes in February.

On September 23, a SpiceJet flight was intercepted while it was mid-air, with the Pakistani F-16 fighter jets asking the pilot of the commercial plane to lower its altitude and report to them with details of the flight.

The flight, SG-21, which had taken off from New Delhi, had 120 passengers on board.

The situation came after the Pakistani ATC misunderstood the SpiceJet flight with 'SG' code as 'IA', thinking of it as an Indian Army or Indian Air Force plane. Every passenger plane has a code to distinguish it from others.

When the Pakistani ATC reported of an Indian plane with 'IA' code, they launched their F-16s to probe on it.

However, the SpiceJet aircraft was escorted out of the Pakistan airspace till it entered Afghanistan as soon as the confusion was cleared, confirmed a DGCA official.

"At the time when Pakistani F-16s were flying around the flight, all the passengers were asked to shut their windows and maintain silence," ANI quoted the passengers as saying.

After the flight's landing in Kabul, its return journey was delayed by almost five hours as the Pakistani embassy officials gathered to clear the paperwork involving the mid-air chaos.