The Signal: Was Flight AE 7606 an Actual Plane?

In Netflix’s German science fiction series ‘The Signal,’ the astronauts Paula and Hadi board Air Eleven’s Flight AE 7606 to return to their respective families in Germany from Chile. The plane then mysteriously disappears, only for the authorities and search parties to discover its remains in the Atlantic Ocean in no time. Paula loses her life along with Hadi and over 170 passengers, making the tragedy an unbearable one for several families. As the series progresses, Paula’s husband Sven and daughter Charlie unravel the mystery behind the crashing of the aircraft, revealing how the tragedy is orchestrated by an evil force who targeted their loved one! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Significance of Flight AE 7606

Flight AE 7606 is a fictional airplane conceived by Florian David Fitz and his team of writers for the series. Like the aircraft, Air Eleven is also a fictitious company. There isn’t any passenger airline that currently exists with the same name. In reality, several airline bombings have happened as the series depicts in the case of Flight AE 7606. One of the most similar cases involved Air India Flight 182, an airplane that was flying from Montreal to London in June 1985. An explosion in the forward cargo hold of the aircraft caused the break-up of the plane, only for its remains to fall into the Atlantic Ocean, which can be paralleled with the fate of Flight AE 7606.

The alleged perpetrator behind the bombing was a person of Indian origin, similar to the Indian billionaire Benisha Mudhi, who orchestrates the bombing in the series. The explosion in Air India Flight 182 killed 329 individuals, nearly double the casualties of Flight AE 7606. However, most of the real-life airline bombings have terrorist or militant organizations behind them. In the case of Air India Flight 182, Talwinder Singh Parmar, a Sikh militant involved in the Khalistan movement, was accused of masterminding the tragedy.

In the series, however, Mudhi plans the bombings inside Flight AE 7606 for her personal and financial gains rather than for a terrorist organization or cause. The writers of the series must have chosen to rely on a vanished flight and its ambiguous crashing to enhance the mystery in the series. The tales that revolve around vanishing airplanes have a significant fanbase regardless of their fictional or real origins. The vanishing of Flight AE 7606 reminds us of the disappearance of Montego Air Flight 828 in NBC/Netflix’s science fiction series ‘Manifest.’

The writers of the series succeeded in conceiving the missing airplane as an efficient trope that makes the viewers engaged in the show. Even though the tragedy doesn’t have an exact real-life counterpart, it is an integral part of the thriller drama’s narrative.

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