Singapore aircraft intercepted by Indonesian air force yet to be released

SINGAPORE - A Singapore aircraft that was reportedly intercepted by Indonesia fighter jets on Tuesday, and the three people on board have not yet been released, The Straits Times reported.

It has been more than 20 hours since the C90GTi King Plane owned by Singapore Technologies (ST) Aerospace was intercepted by Indonesian aviation authorities for flying over the country's airspace without the necessary flight permits.

The plane, operated by ST's pilot training arm Pacific Flight Services, was en route from Sibu, Sarawak, to Seletar Airport.

A pilot instructor and two trainees were on board the flight when they were told by Indonesian air force to land in Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

ST Aerospace told The Straits Times that all three of Singaporean pilot and foreign trainees are "in good condition".

While Indonesian authorities claim the plane was flying without permits, ST Aerospace said the required approvals had been duly sought before the flight.

ST Aerospace said that it has been operating this route for a number of years without any issue. A spokesperson told The Straits Times: "We would like to clarify that we filed the flight plan in accordance with airspace regulations through the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and have been operating this route for a number of years without prior notification from the authorities of any issue for using this route."

According to the report, plans for the return flight were filed through the Malaysian authorities. Industry experts have told The Straits Times that the norm is for aircraft operators to file their flight plans through the civil aviation regulator of the country from which they depart. The information is then conveyed to the authorities overseeing the skies along the path.

ST Aerospace remains in touch with the Indonesia authorities.

Necessary permits for the flight out of Pontianak have also been submitted. This approval is necessary as the forced stop at Pontianak was not part of the original flight plan.

ST Aerospace hopes its aircraft will be able to return today (Oct 29).