AirAsia flight QZ8501 is apparently missing en route from Surabaya to Singapore. It was supposed to land at Changi Airport at 8am. Singaporeans are believed to be on board. According to an Indonesian news channel, the flight lost contact with air traffic control. Malaysia Kini reported that the aircraft had 155 passengers on board while The Associated Press tweeted that the flight had 162 onboard. We assume it’s inclusive of cabin crew?
Although AirAsia themselves have yet to respond to this, Astro Awani posted up an announcement via their Twitter account which stated:
AirAsia flight from Indonesia to Singapore missing after losing contact with air traffic control: AFP
— Astro AWANI (@501Awani) December 28, 2014
According to Al Arabiya News, Indonesian media cited a Transport Ministry official who said that the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact. The Indonesian Search and Rescue said that the plane’s last known position was over the Gulf of Kumai.
UPDATE (12:01pm, 28th Dec): AirAsia has released a statement in regards to the news of the missing plane. As follows:
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24hrs this morning. At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available. The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service. 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. AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.
The civil aviation authority of Singapore has also released a statement which reads:
As we speak, the Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre has been activated. Search and rescue efforts to follow. AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes took to Twitter to thank everyone for all their thoughts and prayers, and asked his company to stay strong
UPDATE (1:36pm, 28th Dec): An updated statement from AirAsia has just been released. As follows:
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 and crew onboard are as below: 1 Singapore 1 Malaysia 1 France 3 South Korean 156 Indonesia 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). The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014. 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. AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, www.airasia.com.
But although AirAsia is a Malaysia-based company, the “QZ” Air Operator Certificate was issued by Indonesia. This means that under International Civil Aviation Organisation protocols, Indonesia is responsible for the search and rescue efforts and subsequent accident investigation. UPDATE (6:30pm, 28th Dec): Malaysian news outlet News Strait Times tweeted that the Malaysian passenger onboard the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been identified as Sii Chung Huei, a Jakarta-based businessman from Kuching:
More to come as the story unfolds. Keep checking back with us for more information.