NEW DELHI, 3 July-2014, Saurabh Sinha/TNN: In a close shave for Indian flyers, a rocket attack took place at Kabul airport on Thursday morning when a SpiceJet aircraft was getting ready to fly to Delhi. Luckily for the over 100 passengers on board the Boeing 737, the rocket landed a safe distance away from the aircraft and hit a hangar.
“Kabul rocket attack near runway today aimed at military target. SpiceJet pax, crew, aircraft safe. Flight will depart with pax (passengers) for DEL (Delhi) soon,” SpiceJet COO Sanjiv Kapoor tweeted.
Following this incident, which came close on heels of attacks on Karachi airport and then shots fired at a jet in Peshawar in Pakistan, operations in Kabul were halted by shutting down the runway and sealing off fuelling facilities for some hours. The flight, SG 22, left around 3pm (local time Kabul) instead of the schedule departure time of 11.40am and landed here safely.
Kapoor’s tweet that the target of this attack was ‘military’ quelled initial fears that extremists may have targeted an Indian airliner, following several attacks on the Indian embassy in Kabul in recent past. SpiceJet has, however, not cancelled flights to Kabul.
“The Indian government should assess whether it is safe for the country’s airlines o fly to places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both these countries are witnessing attacks on airports and aircraft. Our crew does not feel safe flying to these places,” said the official of another airline.