In yet another major airline incident this year, an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board disappeared early morning on Sunday while flying over the Java Sea after taking off from Surabaya for Singapore at 5:31 am local time.
Search for the plane is still on, though no trace has been found even after more than 12 hours of search and rescue operations led by Indonesia.
AirAsia has issued a statement in the wake of AirAsia Indonesia’s flight QZ8501 going missing over the Java Sea early on Saturday morning.
The statement reads:
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 (Surabaya LT) this morning. The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 0535hours.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board.
The captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours.
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
Nationalities of passengers:
3 South Korea
1 United Kingdom
Nationalities of crew:
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC).
AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.
The year has not been good for airlines sector, and the link to Malaysia has been a connection for three major air incidents this year. This is the third air incident connected to Malaysia this year, post the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, which is still missing, and the shooting of flight MH17 over Ukraine on July 17.
Malaysia-based AirAsia is the dominant LCC for south east Asia, and carried about 50 million passengers last year. AirAsia was founded by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes. AirAsia has never lost a plane before and has a good safety track record.
AirAsia Malaysia owns 49 percent of its subsidiary, AirAsia Indonesia, which was taken over by Fernandez in 2001. AirAsia has been expanding fast in the region, and has also started operations in India in 2014 through AirAsia India, which is expanding fast on domestic routes.
Agencies & Musafir Namah Bureau