BUDAPEST, Hungary, May 1 (UPI) — A British Airways flight was intercepted by fighter jets over Hungary Saturday after it failed to contact air traffic controllers when it entered the country’s air space.
The Boeing 777 was reportedly escorted by two Hungarian Air Force Gripen fighter jets that were scrambling to identify the aircraft after it passed over Hungary’s border unannounced Saturday afternoon, The Telegraph reported.
The flight, BA108, was en route from Dubai to Heathrow when the Hungarian Defense Ministry detected it. According to air safety protocol, pilots must contact air traffic controllers on the ground when passing from one country’s airspace to another.
When the British Airways jet failed to make contact, Hungarian authorities reportedly issued their highest alert and the fighter jets raced out to identify the aircraft and ensure it was making safe progress.
The Gripens took off at 12:55 p.m. before the commercial flight made contact with ground control,Sky News reported..
The jets returned to the base at 1:21 p.m..
“Communication was quickly restored with air traffic control and the flight landed normally at Heathrow,” British Airways announced.
Several similar incidents recently have occurred recently where civilian commercial flights have inadvertently triggered high-level security alerts.
In October, passengers on board a Monarch airlines flight from Madeira, Spain to Birmingham, England spotted fighter jets in close proximity to the plane after it lost communication over French airspace.