Spanish planes illegally enter Portuguese air space

Two light aircraft which illegally entered Portuguese airspace were intercepted by the authorities after they were forced to land at the Lagos aerodrome.

At first, police thought the two planes were transporting illicit cargo but it was proved not to be the case.

They entered Portuguese airspace near Mértola at 10.45am along with five other light aircraft, which were authorised to fly into Portugal, unlike the other two.

Two Portuguese Air Force F16 jets had taken off from the military base in Monte Real to intercept the two Spanish planes, which they considered to be a potential threat.

Four Spanish men, aged between 40 and 60, had piloted the two aircraft from Mérida, in Spain, and showed full co-operation when questioned by the police.

They explained that the illegal entry was a “mistake” on their part and their sole objective was to set out on a pleasure flight.“We are not terrorists,” said one of the pilots.

Luís Duarte, director of the Lagos Municipal Aerodrome, added that the pilots and occupants are “well known for their leisurely flights in the Iberian Peninsula” and that they intend to spend a few days in Lagos before setting off for Évora and then Spain.