A airliner from Air India loses ATC contact over Hungary, accompanied by fighter aircraft.

An Ahmedabad-London Air India flight was escorted by two Hungarian fighter jets after it lost contact with the air traffic control (ATC) for nearly an hour while flying over the east European country. The flight carrying 231 passengers and 18 crew landed safely at London’s Heathrow Airport. AI pilots were perplexed to see Hungarian fighter aircraft escorting their Dreamliner on Friday, according to a preliminary investigation by the carrier. This may have been the result of a communication breakdown. The pilots transferred to a different frequency to ask one of the Hungarian pilots why the aircraft was being escorted. The AI pilots were informed that the fighter jets had to be dispatched because the aircraft had been “out of contact” for some time. Even after this conversation, Hungarian fighters continued to fly alongside the AI aircraft. The AI pilots again contacted the fighter pilot and informed him that the passengers were alarmed because they could see the jets flanking the plane, according to a highly placed source. Only then did the fighter jets fly away, and the AI plane continued on to London. As flying over diverse countries necessitates frequent frequency changes, they may transition to the incorrect frequency. This may result in errors. Or, a pilot’s earpiece could be set to such a low volume that he is unable to hear attempts to contact him on the emergency frequency on which any aircraft can be reached. The third reason is that both pilots may fall asleep, according to AI spokesman G P Rao. The plane left Ahmedabad for London at 7 a.m. on Friday. It temporarily lost control with local ATC over Hungary. The flight securely landed at London Heathrow at 11:06 am (local time). The airline is conducting an investigation.

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