A Pakistan International Airlines aircraft bound for Lahore strayed into Indian airspace recently due to poor weather. The Boeing 777 was performing an international flight from the Middle East and had to abort its landing in Lahore, following which it accidentally entered Indian airspace for a total of 10 minutes.

Crossing the border

On May 6th, Pakistan International Airlines flight PK248 between Dammam and Lahore accidentally crossed the India-Pakistan border. Flightradar24.com reveals that the Boeing 777 took off from Dammam at 15:17, with most of the flight appearing to be uneventful.

As the plane approached Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE), it encountered heavy rainfall resulting in an unstable approach. The pilots aborted the landing and performed a go-around.

According to media reports, it was after the go-around that the pilots lost their way due to the heavy downpour and accidentally entered the Indian airspace. Lahore is situated very close to the India-Pakistan border, and it wouldn’t take long for an airplane to reach India from the city.

Back and forth

According to the Press Trust of India, the Boeing 777 was flying at 13,500 feet at a speed of 292km/hr when it entered Indian airspace. After flying for close to 40 kilometers (25 miles) through Taran Sahib and Rasulpur in the Indian state of Punjab, the aircraft turned around towards Pakistan.

While flying over India, the 777’s pilot increased its altitude to 20,000 feet and stayed in the country for around seven minutes, following which it re-entered Pakistan close to the village of Jhagian Noor Muhammad in the Indian Punjab.

Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777
Photo: Soos Jozsef/Shutterstock

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But soon after, the plane again entered Indian airspace flying over the villages of Dona Mabboki, Chaant, Dhupsari Kasur, and Ghati Kalanjar in the Kasur district of the Pakistani Punjab. The second time, it flew over India for close to three minutes before entering Pakistan.

The weather at Lahore apparently did not improve much, as the 777 flew past the city and diverted to Multan. It departed Multan at 23:26 and eventually reached Lahore at 12:03, according to Flightradar.com.

No air service between India and Pakistan

While this seemed like a genuine mistake, any incident like this grabs attention, given the political relations between India and Pakistan in recent years. Currently, there is no air or rail connectivity between the two countries.

Pakistan International Airlines did operate flights between Lahore and Delhi and Karachi and Mumbai a few years ago, but diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan have soured lately, leading to cancellations of direct flights.

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Flights are unlikely to resume anytime soon, with Pakistan’s Railways and Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique commenting at a media event last year that there was no proposal to resume air and rail traffic between Pakistan and India.

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Source: PTI via The Economic Times