An AirAsia Indonesia (PK-AXC Airbus A320-216 c/n 3648) airliner flying from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board has lost contact with air traffic control. Flight QZ8501 went missing at 07:24 (23:24 GMT), AirAsia stated.
The plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared midway into the flight of more than two hours and no distress call was issued. Indonesian military planes and aircraft from Singapore are searching an area of the Java Sea.
The flight left the Indonesian city of Surabaya in eastern Java at 05:20 local time (22:20 GMT) and was due to arrive in Singapore at 08:30 (00:30 GMT). The missing jet had requested a “deviation” from the flight path due to bad weather, AirAsia said. Indonesia’s transport ministry said the pilot had asked permission to climb to 38,000 ft (11,000m) to avoid thick cloud.
AirAsia, a budget airline which owns 49% of AirAsia Indonesia, is based in Malaysia and has never lost a plane.
However, 2014 has been a difficult year for aviation in Asia: Malaysia’s national carrier Malaysia Airlines has suffered two losses – flights MH370 and MH17.
Flight MH370 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March with 239 passengers and crew. The wreckage, thought to be in southern Indian Ocean, has still not been located. MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July, killing all 298 on board.
The flight was supposed to arrive early this morning. Hours later the families of the passengers gathered here have very little information. Airport officials are keeping them well away from the media and trying to make them comfortable.
There were 155 passengers on board, the company said in a statement:
138 adults, 16 children and one infant
Two pilots and five cabin crew were also on board
Most on board were Indonesian
Six were from other countries: three South Koreans and one French, Malaysian and Singaporean.
It is difficult to speculate on what has happened to this aircraft, but seeing as evasive ection was taken to avoid weather, that is the most likely cause. However more information needs to be released before a conclusion can arrived at. The simplest causes are always the most likely,
Source: BBC News, Photo: Wikipedia