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HomeFact CheckAmidst Maldives Controversy, Old Video Goes Viral Claiming To Show First Flight...

Amidst Maldives Controversy, Old Video Goes Viral Claiming To Show First Flight Landing In Agatti

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
First flight lands on Lakshdweep’s Agatti island

Fact
The viral video was not about landing the first flight to the Agatti Airport and was available on the Internet since 2021

As the controversy over Maldivian ministers’ remarks against PM Modi resulted in a boycott Maldives trend online, several social media users are posting a 27 second video, claiming to show the first flight that  landed recently at the Agatti Airport of Lakshadweep. This, video, seemingly taken from the cockpit of the aircraft, shows a plane approaching a runway amidst azure blue waters. The video post can be seen here.

Many other X users also shared the same video with the same claim. Some of those can be seen here, here and here.

Some Facebook users also have posted the video with same claim. Some of those can be seen here and here.

However, our investigation found that the viral video had been available on the internet since 2021 and that this was not the first flight to Agatti Airport.

Fact Check/Verification

We used the InVid Tool to extract key frames of the viral video and conducted a Google reverse image search on a few of them, which took us to several YouTube Channels carrying the same video. One such page named CLICK & SEE MEDIA carried a video reel featuring an exact video similar to the viral one, on July 30, 2021. The caption states as “flight landing on lakshadweep agatti island”, but the incident was 2 and half years old. This proves that this video is not recent.

We then  conducted a Google Keyword search with “Lakshadweep’s Agatti airfield”, and it led us to a news report by The Times of India, dated 14th October, 2022. According to the report with the title “Lakshadweep’s Agatti airfield witnesses maiden night landing by aircraft” states that the Agatti airfield in Lakshadweep islands witnessed the first ever night landing by an aircraft on 13th October 2022. Kochi based Premiere Air Squadron INAS 550 of the Indian Navy had created history by carrying out the maiden night landing in a Dornier aircraft at the airfield. This is the lone airstrip available in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The airfield, operated by Airport Authority of India, was inaugurated in April 1988 for operation of DO 228. As per the TOI report, the operations were extended to ATR 72 in September 2010.

We also found that the main upgrade of this airport was at the end of 2010. We conducted another key-word search with “Airport in Lakshadweep” and it led us to an article by Press Information Bureau. As per the article published on 09 DEC 2019, the Ministry of Civil Aviation recognized 4 Water Aerodromes locations in Andaman & Nicobar Island and 2 in Lakshadweep Island that is up for bidding. The efforts were in the direction to provide aerial connectivity to the region.

On the other hand, amid Maldives row, the Indian government is planning to build a new airport for both military and civilian aircraft in Lakshadweep. The news reports on that can be read here and here.

Conclusion

Thus, the viral video does not show the landing of the first flight to the Agatti Airport and has been  available on the Internet since 2021.

Result: Partly False

Our Sources:
1. Video uploaded by CLICK & SEE MEDIA, dated July 30, 2021
2. Report published by The Times of India, dated 14th October, 2022


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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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