KARACHI: A drone was sighted hovering over a Sukkur-bound commercial aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) only minutes after it took off from the Karachi airport on Friday.
Sources said the PIA flight PK-536, an ATR aircraft, was at an altitude of 4,300 feet when the drone emerged 100 feet above it for a brief period at 5.27pm. They said the drone was a three-foot dark purple object. It was also seen on the radar screen of the air traffic control that immediately communicated the information to the Pakistan Air Force as per the standard operating procedure.
A PIA spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the pilot of PK-536 witnessed the drone at a very close distance. He said the plane landed at Sukkur safely and returned to Karachi the same evening as per schedule.
He said the incident had been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority and other authorities concerned but so far the PIA was not communicated anything about it.
In December, Britain’s second-busiest airport, Gatwick, was forced to close its only runway repeatedly due to the drone sightings. Thousands of people remained stranded at the airport as over 1,000 flights were cancelled or delayed. Arriving flights were diverted to other airports around the UK or even as far afield as Paris and Amsterdam.