New Delhi:

A SpiceJet plane ferrying ace pugilist Mary Kom and 30 other members of an Indian boxing contingent from Delhi was forced to hover for around 45 minutes and declared a fuel emergency before it landed safely at the Dubai airport on Saturday morning, sources said.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating the entire incident, they said.

The sources said that due to COVID-19 restrictions, SpiceJet had got special permission from the UAE government to bring these boxers to Dubai for Asian Boxing Championship 2021 that will be held between May 24 and June 1.

However, the plane had to wait in the UAE airspace for around 45 minutes due to some confusion at the Dubai airport's air traffic control on whether the aircraft can be allowed to land or not and a fuel emergency was declared, they said.

The UAE, since April 25, has barred all travellers from India — except UAE nationals, diplomatic passport holders and official delegation letter holders — due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the country.

The flight SG142 carrying 31 boxers and six crew members departed from the Delhi airport at around 2.20 AM (Indian time) and landed at the Dubai airport at around 6.20 AM (Indian time) on Saturday morning.

Six-time world champion Mary Kom was among the boxers on board the aircraft.

On this matter, SpiceJet spokesperson said in a statement: "An Indian boxing contingent travelled on a SpiceJet flight from Delhi to Dubai today. The aircraft has reached Dubai safely and all passengers have cleared the immigration. The flight and passengers carried proper documentation."

"It was a regular passenger flight under the air bubble agreement and the same aircraft is bringing passengers to India from Dubai on its return leg."

All scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 last year. However, special international flights have been operating under Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under air bubble arrangement formed with around 27 countries since July last year.