The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A Facebook post published Feb. 25, 2022, claims that an Air India flight passed through Ukraine’s airspace during the Russia-Ukraine war.
- Air India’s AI121 flight did not enter Ukraine’s airspace during the period from the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war (Feb. 24, 2022) to the release date of this report.
- The image shared in the claim was first uploaded by a Twitter user, who later clarified that it was a glitch in the flight tracking app “Plane Finder,” which showed the wrong route, and that the glitch was quickly fixed.
- Our ruling: We rate the claim as FALSE.
The Russia-Ukraine War broke out Feb. 24, 2022. A Facebook post published Feb. 25, 2022 claims that an Air India flight passed through the Ukraine’s airspace during the Russia-Ukraine war, while all other commercial flights stayed away from it.
As of the publication of this report, the post had been shared 56 times, and it had received 70 comments and 799 likes or reactions.
Plane Finder, mentioned in the claim, is a U.K.-based service that tracks real-time flights. Air India’s flight AI121 is a scheduled international passenger flight from Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA). The flight’s routes on Feb. 24, 2022 and Feb. 25, 2022 recorded by the Plane Finder show that the flight did not enter Ukraine’s airspace on these dates.
After searching the flight on another flight tracker “FlightAware,” HKBU Fact Check found flight AI121 did not enter Ukraine’s airspace on Feb. 24, 2022 and Feb. 25, 2022, either. According to the records on FlightAware, flight AI121’s routes between the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war and the publication date of this report show that it did not fly through Ukraine’s airspace during that period. According to the FlightAware’s website, it operates the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform, providing over 10,000 aircraft operators and service providers as well as over 13,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions and other services.
Further searches found the image in the claim was first shared Feb. 24, 2022 by a Twitter user. The Twitter user clarified Feb. 25, 2022 that the flight tracker “Plane Finder” had a glitch which was later quickly fixed.
On Feb. 24, 2022, the Ukraine’s foreign ministry announced that the country had decided to close its airspace to civilian flights due to potential hazards to civil aviation.
Therefore, flight AI121 did not enter Ukraine’s airspace between the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war and the publication date of this report. The Twitter user who initially posted the image clarified that it showed the wrong flight path due to a glitch in the flight tracker app.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Facebook post, 25, 2022.
- Plane Finder, AI121’s flight trajectory on Feb. 24, 2022.
- Plane Finder, AI121’s flight trajectory on Feb. 25, 2022.
- FlightAware, AI121’s flight trajectory on Feb. 24, 2022.
- FlightAware, AI121’s flight trajectory on Feb. 25, 2022.
- Twitter, tweet, 24, 2022.
- Twitter, tweet, 25, 2022.
- FlightAware, about FlightAware.
- Boom, “Graphic Shows Air India Only Airliner To Fly Into A War Zone? A FactCheck,” March 1, 2022.
- The Logical Indian, “Fake Image Shown As Air India Flying Into Ukraine-Russia War Zone To Rescue Indian Students,” March 4, 2022.