This Spanish maritime surveillance plane was photographed on Monday morning flying at low altitude just over a mile south of Europa Point, in what has been logged as an incursion into Gibraltar airspace.
It was the second of two air incursions over the weekend, with another Spanish Air Force plane [pictured below] flying along the length of the east side on Saturday.
Although such incidents are rarely photographed in this detail, they occur relatively frequently and usually result in diplomatic protests, much in the same way as occurs with maritime incursions.
All plane movements around the Rock are coordinated by air traffic control in Seville and Gibraltar to ensure aviation safety.
On Monday for example, the Spanish Orion P3 was in contact with Seville, which in turn informed air traffic control in Gibraltar as to the plane’s intentions.
The Chronicle understands there were no delays to Gibraltar flights as a result of the weekend incursions.
The Orion P3, which is based in Moron, is primarily used for anti-submarine operations and to monitor shipping, although in recent weeks it has also played an important maritime rescue role, locating a small dinghy carrying 34 migrants.
In a separate incident at sea over the Easter break, the British Government will protest an incursion by the Spanish Navy corvette Infanta Cristina last Thursday.
The Spanish vessel was challenged by the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron and later left British Gibraltar territorial waters.
Spain insists its vessels and aircraft are carrying out routine operations in waters and airspace that Madrid regards as Spanish.
All photos by DM Parody