An Airbus SAS (EAD) A320 jetliner operated
by Spain’s Vueling Airlines SA (VLG) and carrying 180 people was
intercepted by two Dutch air force F-16 fighters after a loss of
radio contact prompted concern that the plane had been hijacked.
Vueling flight VY8366 from Malaga to Amsterdam was escorted
to the Dutch city’s Schiphol airport, which initially prepared
for a hostage situation, Martijn Peelen, a spokesman for the
Netherlands military police, said by telephone.
The alarm was later canceled, according to Barbara Fisa, a
Vueling spokeswoman who said the emergency had resulted from a
“misunderstanding” after the jet made an unusual maneuver and
couldn’t immediately be contacted by air traffic controllers. A
similar incident occurred over France in May, 2011, she said.
“Everything is normal at the plane, everybody is relaxed as
there’s nothing going on,” Felice Roedema, a passenger on the
plane, said in an interview over the phone with NOS television.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-16s
capable of flying at 1,500 miles per hour were scrambled from
Volkel air base, where they form part of the Quick Reaction
Alert unit established during the Cold War, according to the
Dutch defense ministry’s website.
The incident comes after a Vueling jet flying the same
route was intercepted by a French air force Dassault Aviation SA (AM)
Mirage 2000 fighter last May following an incident over northern
France which also involved “losing communication,” Fisa said.
Barcelona-based Vueling is Spain’s second-biggest airline
and operates a fleet of 59 leased Airbus A320-series planes.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Manuel Baigorri in Madrid at
Fred Pals in Amsterdam at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Chad Thomas at email@example.com