A Kuwait Airways airplane strayed into the no-fly zone in New Delhi Monday but was brought back to course immediately, a breach that occurred a day after airports across India were put on high alert following a warning that a flight to Europe or the US could be hijacked.
According to Air Traffic Control officials, the Delhi-Kuwait flight took off in the direction of Qutab Minar at 6:15 a.m. from the Indira Gandhi International airport and was heading towards Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence before it was intercepted.
"It was a simple mistake on the part of the Kuwaiti Airways pilot. We are looking into the matter and will see what needs to be done," PK Chattopadhyay, joint director general of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said.
"The plane was immediately brought back to course. It has left for its original destination," said Chattopadhyay.
Sources in the government, however said that an enquiry has been ordered into the matter and a letter had been sent to the airlines to explain the lapse.
Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi, who was initially expected to meet the National Crises Management Committee in the afternoon to review the breach of security, has cancelled the meeting.
Security agencies were immediately alerted following the breach and the Special Protection Group (SPG), guarding the prime minister's residence at Race Course Road, were prepared.
In August this year, the Indian Air Force scrambled its MIG-21s after a flying object from Pakistan was noticed very close to the border in Rajasthan. While the object did not cross the border, it did violate the 10 km no fly zone rule observed by both countries.
Just last week, airports in southern India were put on alert after the airport director in the city of Trichy received a letter warning of imminent attacks at airports or on planes.