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List Of Plane Hijack In India – The Most Famous Hijackings In History You Must Know

famous hijackings in history
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The terror that grips one’s heart when the plane they are in is hijacked is unfathomable. And yet, time and time again, the pilots and the crew of the hijacked planes have shown their level-headedness and ability to think on their feet. It is truly impressive to see how many lives had been saved by their courage and presence of mind. In history, plane hijacked in India 1999, Indian plane hijack 1971 and Indian plane hijack 1986 was not something unknown. Now, in the below list of plane hijack in India, we will study the details of famous hijackings in history.

What Does Plane Hijack Mean?

Aircraft hijacking or skyjacking is the unlawful seizure of control of a plane by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to follow the flight instructions of the hijacker to save the lives of the people on board. Below are some of the famous hijackings in history.

List of Plane Hijack In India

List of Plane Hijack in India

The following is the list of plane hijack in India throughout the years:

1. Indian plane hijack 1971

On January 30, 1971, an Indian Airlines domestic passenger plane called Ganga was hijacked by two Kashmiri separatists, Hashim Qureshi and his cousin Ashraf Qureshi. This event of the Indian plane hijack 1971 remains sensational to this day. The aircraft was made to land at Lahore Airport in Pakistan where the passengers and crew were released and the plane was burned down.

This hijack was ordered by the NLF (National Liberation Front) to bring attention to the Kashmiri Independence Movement. The hijackers demanded the release of 36 NLF prisoners in Indian prisons but they were persuaded by the airport authorities to release the passengers and crew. The Indian government refused to meet the demands of the hijackers.

2. Indian Airlines hijack (Boeing 737), 1976

Here’s one of the most famous hijackings in history. The plane was hijacked when it was 35 miles outside Delhi. The two men who had hijacked the plane wanted to land in Libya but upon hearing that there wasn’t enough fuel to land there, they ordered the plane to land in Karachi. As even this was impossible, the pilots insisted that they can fly only up to Lahore. The frustrated hijackers agreed to land in Lahore. 

Fortunately, the pilots had managed to get a message through to Palam beforehand. Therefore, the Pakistani officials did everything in their power to delay as much as they could when asked for petrol, route maps and a navigator. 

Finally, the skyjackers decided to stay the night in Lahore with no other choice. After negotiations, the passengers were allowed to go into the lounge and as the pilots were exhausted they too were allowed to go in later. Soon, the Pakistani army officers captured the hijackers by doping the water distributed to them. 

3. Hijack of Indian Airlines Flight 410, 1978

The Indian Airlines flight 410 was hijacked by Bholanath Pandey and Devendra Pandey on December 20, 1978. The plane was made to land in Varanasi. They merely used toy guns to hijack the plane and demanded the release of Indira Gandhi and all charges against Sanjay Gandhi to be dropped. 

After lengthy negotiations with the Chief Minister and the senior state officials, they surrendered in the presence of the media. Both men went on to win the election as members of the Congress party and became members of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh. 

MPs belonging to other political parties condemned the hijacking as it was a dangerous strategy while the Congress party tried to minimize the repercussions of the hijack by calling it a joke.

4. Hijack of Indian Airlines Flight 423, 1981

The Indian Airlines plane was hijacked by five Sikh militants of Dal Khalsa and taken to Lahore airport in Pakistan. They were armed with daggers and a hand grenade. Gajender Singh, the leader of the hijackers, demanded the release of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and $500,000 in cash.  Pakistan rescued the passengers despite the protests of the Pakistani Intelligence Agency. 

The hijackers were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Pakistani government. As the accused, Satnam Singh had served the sentence in Pakistan, he was discharged by the Indian court on retrial.

5. Indian plane Hijack on July 5, 1984

Nine Sikh hijackers forced Indian Airlines flight 405 to land at Lahore airport, Pakistan. They demanded the release of the Sikhs arrested during Operation Blue Star, $25 million and the return of items allegedly stolen during Operation Blue Star from the Golden temple.

Operation Blue Star was the code name for the military operation carried out to remove terrorists from the Golden Temple. The demands of the hijackers were not met and they surrendered to Pakistani authorities on July 6.

6. Hijack of Indian plane on 24th August, 1984

Seven members of the All India Sikh Students Federation hijacked the plane and demanded to be flown to the US. The plane flew to Lahore, Karachi and lastly, Dubai. The defence minister of the United Arab Emirates negotiated the release of the passengers and the hijackers surrendered to UAE authorities.

7. Pan AM flight 73 Indian plane hijack 1986

The Indian plane hijack 1986 was one of the most terrifying and famous hijackings in history. Pan AM flight 73 was scheduled to fly from Bombay to New York, US with stops in Karachi, Pakistan, Frankfurt and West Germany. Four Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal Organization hijacked the plane while it was on the ground in Karachi airport. 

Thanks to the quick thinking of Neerja Bhanot, who relayed the hijack code to the cockpit crew, the pilots escaped through the emergency hatch. This resulted in a hijack stalemate and the hijackers were forced to negotiate. All the hijackers were sentenced to death in Pakistan which was later changed to life imprisonment.

8. Plane hijacked in India 1999

The plane hijacked in India 1999 was the Indian Airlines flight 814 that was en route to Indira Gandhi National airport and made to fly to several locations before landing in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It was hijacked by five masked Pakistani militants of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

At that time, most of Afghanistan was under the control of the Taliban. The Taliban fighters surrounded the aircraft to prevent Indian military intervention. It is believed that if the ISI had not supported the Taliban, India could have resolved the crisis. In the end, the demands of the hijackers to release Islamist terrorists were met and the crew and passengers were released.


In the above list of plane hijack in India, though the Indian Government struggled to ensure the safety of the passengers of the hijacked planes on occasion, they were able to successfully retrieve the hostages and deny the demands of the hijackers. The terror of being hijacked may not fade away but we can console ourselves with the fact that our government will do everything in its power to safeguard us.

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