An Airbus A321 from Madrid to Beirut operated by SkyTeam member Middle East Airlines was intercepted by Greek F-16 fighter jets after the pilot of August 10th’s flight 242, son of the airline’s Chairman and Director General, became non-responsive to air traffic control after signaling a distress code. Nothing was wrong, and the flight’s captain may have simply failed to communicate on the correct frequency.
Despite several attempts reportedly to contact the aircraft, no radio response was received, causing authorities to become concerned about the plane’s condition.
Greek officials then deployed F-16 fighters to Souda and approached the aircraft over Argolis in the northeastern Peloponnese.
Seeing a fighter jet flying alongside the commercial plane is jarring.
Code Renegade set Greek authorities on alert following a relevant signal by the NATO air control center in Spain (CAOC Torrejón), to intercept a non-responsive civil aircraft Airbuss A321 with 145 passengers onboard that had taken off from Madrid and was bound for Beirut. pic.twitter.com/qwecsgpz0v
— IntelSky (@Intel_Sky) August 15, 2022
Beirut-based Middle East Airlines is owned by Lebanon’s Central Bank. Its country is undergoing one of the worst economic crises in the world. While much of the criticism is leveled at cronyism and corruption, it’s worth noting that Middle East Airlines had been largely profitable at least before the pandemic.