Unidentified drones were spotted in the skies on Sunday afternoon, prompting Imphal airport to order the suspension of flight operations.
An unusual flying object was observed at Imphal airport:
Drones or unidentified unmanned aerial vehicles were found in the airspace, prompting an order to cease aircraft operations at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal. According to sources who spoke with India Today, the aerial vehicles have been spotted in the area since Sunday around 2:30 pm. Services resumed as usual after over three hours.
Some arriving flights redirected to other locations after turning back from Imphal airspace, while some flights to and from Imphal Airport were canceled, according to sources.
Director of Imphal Airport Chipemmi Keishing released a statement regarding the suspension of flight operations, stating: “Two flights have been diverted and three outgoing planes have been delayed due to the finding of an unknown aerial item inside the airspace under Imphal’s authority. Flight operations can start as soon as clearance is given by a qualified authority.
An Air Traffic Control (ATC) official stated that around 2:30 pm, they received a message from the CISF stating that an unidentified flying object (UFO) had been discovered close to the airport.
The officer stated that he could see the UFO with his naked eyes traveling westward of the airstrip until 4 p.m.
The Indian Air Force Eastern Command, which is based in Shillong, was informed of the development, the official said.
An IndiGo aircraft traveling from Kolkata to Imphal was told to hold overhead till the CISF and SP Imphal West gave their approval. Two inbound flights were diverted to Kolkatta after air traffic controllers reported seeing an unusual flying object near the runway, and three aircraft waited for instructions for over three hours.
Two IndiGo aircraft had their routes changed: 6E275 from Kolkata to Imphal and 6E5118 from Delhi to Imphal to Kolkata. Meanwhile, Air India flight AI 890 was cleared to depart Imphal for Guwahati after being delayed for more than three hours.
Air traffic control and Imphal airport technical staff reported that at 2:30 pm, members detected the drones and requested that the three flights pause takeoff. Some travelers reported that they had rearranged their tickets as a result of the drone sightings, which led to a cancelation and delay.
Eastern Air Command of the Air Force took to X, formerly Twitter, saying, “IAF activated its Air Defence response mechanism based on visual inputs from Imphal airport.” After then, the little item was not seen.”
The event happened soon after the Manipur government decided to prolong the internet service ban for an additional five days, till November 23, in light of the state’s poor law and order conditions.
Following the organisation of a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ in Manipur’s hill areas to express opposition to the Meitei community’s quest for Scheduled Tribe (ST) designation, the northeastern state has been plagued by violence since May. About 200 individuals have killed as a result of the ethnic hostilities between the Kukis and Meiteis tribal tribes since they started on May 3.
In addition to sharing an international border with Myanmar to the east, Manipur shares borders with Nagaland, Mizoram, and Assam.