New Delhi: A suspected explosive device on board a standby Air India VVIP aircraft has turned out to be a plastic wrapper, an airline official said in New Delhi on Saturday.
The object, earlier suspected to be a "defused grenade", turned out to be only a "plastic wrapper", an Air India official said.
The Jeddah Airport security cleared the Boeing 747-400, operating flight AI-965 on Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah route for further operations later Saturday morning.
An Air India official made it clear that the aircraft was not the one which was kept on a standby for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to the US.
The plane had been operating on the Delhi-Frankfurt route during this period, they said.
Official sources said this was part of a security drill carried out by the National Security Guards since the last week of September at select airports in the country to check the alertness of the crew and others concerned.
The Indian security apparatus went into a tizzy early Saturday after the suspicious object, initially presumed to be an explosive, was found by the cabin crew on the Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah flight at its termination point.
Air India has set up a committee under the chairmanship of its Joint Managing Director and Joint Commissioner of Security, Civil Aviation to further investigate the incident as also the alertness of the crew.
"We have already formed a committee to look into the matter of how such an object, though harmless in nature, come onboard. The aircraft was secured and cleared by the airport authorities in Jeddah," a senior Air India official had told a news agency in New Delhi.
"At no point of time was the safety of the passengers on the aircraft compromised," AI said in a statement.
The aircraft was earlier said to be on standby for use by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in case his regular aircraft developed any last minute snags during his US visit.
Reports said that it was kept in complete readiness at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, and released on Friday for commercial operations after Modi's return to India from the US. The Prime Minister had undertaken a five-day visit to the US from September 25.
(With Agency inputs)