After a seven-hour drama, a chartered US military aircraft that was detained at Mumbai airport on Sunday morning by Indian authorities after it failed to correctly identify itself, was given the green signal to proceed, an airport official said.
"The customs, immigration and other procedural formalities are being completed. The aircraft is expected to take off around 2.30 p.m.," the official said.
The chartered Boeing 767 belonging to North American airlines, carrying 205 US Marines from Fujairah (UAE) to Bangkok (Thailand), was ordered by the Indian Air Force to land at Mumbai airport. It landed at 7.52 a.m. after the Air Traffic Control (ATC) found a discrepancy in its call sign.
The aircraft was directed to a remote parking bay of the airport even as security and civilian personnel carried out further investigations. The US marines were reportedly going on a holiday to Bangkok.
Officials of the IAF, Central Industrial Security Force and Mumbai customs reached the aircraft and the IAF questioned the pilot.
The IAF also co-ordinated with the US Embassy in New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs and US authorities to sort out the matter.
After hectic parleys, the aircraft was finally given the clearance to leave, the official said.