MIAMI — Indonesia Air Asia flight QZ8501 lost contract with Air Traffic Controllers in Jakarta at 6:17am local Sunday morning. The Airbus A320 was traveling from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore.
There were 155 passengers and 7 crew on-board the flight. There was one Singaporean, one British, one Malaysian, three Koreans, and 149 Indonesians on the flight, according to AirAsia.
The flight was operated by a Airbus A320 that was delivered to AirAsia in late 2008 and leased from Doric. The aircraft, with registration PK-AXC has two CFM International CFM56-5B6/3 engines. AirAsia Group has 169 Airbus A320-200 aircraft in its fleet with another 58 on order.
Update at 9:30 AM ET:
Earlier today, a floating debris field was spotted off Borneo, and Indonesia’s Sear-and-Rescue chief said he was 95% confident from the aircraft.
A few hours later, the shadow of an aircraft underwater was spotted as well as a potential body, and shortly after arriving at the debris field, officials were able to confirm that it was in fact AirAsia 8501.
Now, government agencies have initiated a 24 hour recovery operation.
Update at 12:00 PM ET:
Earlier today, there were reports that a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Orion surveillance aircraft had spotted objects floating in the ocean near the initial search zone for the AirAsia A320. However, after a day of searching, those reports proved to be futile, with the Indonesian government concluding that the aircraft may in fact be at the bottom of the ocean, in an area with sea depth of 40-50 meters. The search has now shifted to center on a patch of oil spotted off of Belitung Island. The Indonesian search and rescue forces have deployed a ship to test the oil patch, checking to see whether it is aviation related or oil from the many ships that move around daily in the region.
Update at 7:45 PM ET:
The search has resumed on the second day after the disappearance, with more countries adding assets to the search. The Singaporean government has officially deployed a C130 from Paya Lebar that had been on standby the night of the incident due to inclement weather. The Indonesian government has also deployed 12 naval ships, 5 planes, 3 helicopters, and several warships in search and rescue efforts. Civilian marine transports in the area are also expected to contribute to the initiative.
Air Asia issued the following statement earlier today, and has set up a crisis website.
Earlier in Surabaya, the management of AirAsia along with the Governor of East Java, National Search and Rescue Agency of Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS), Airport Authority of Indonesia, Airport Operator (Angkasa Pura I) met with the members of the families to update them on the latest developments and reconfirmed their commitment to providing assistance in every possible way.
Sunu Widyatmoko, CEO of AirAsia Indonesia said, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this incident. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities to the fullest extent to determine the cause of this incident. In the meantime, our main priority is keeping the families of our passengers and colleagues informed on the latest developments.”
“We will do everything possible to support them as the investigation continues and have already mobilized a support team to help take care of their immediate needs, including accommodation and travel arrangements. A briefing center has also been set up in Surabaya for the families.”
For the families in Singapore, there is also an emergency briefing room at Changi International Airport Terminal Two, where AirAsia Indonesia will be providing regular updates.
We have also established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for those seeking information about relatives or friends who may have been on board the flight. The number is +622129270811.
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted, under the guidance of National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 4 cabin crewand one engineer on board.
The captain in command had a total of 20,537 flying hours of which, 6,100 flying hours were with AirAsia Indonesia on the Airbus A320. The first office officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia.
We will release further information as soon as it becomes available and our thoughts and prayers are with those on board QZ8501.
Note to Editors: We ask that members of the news media do not call the AirAsia Emergency Call Centre, as this line is reserved for family members seeking information about those who may have been on board. For media enquiries please call +622129270831.
Update at 6:40 AM ET:
As of 6:40 AM ET, there are not many new details. It’s quickly approaching nightfall in Singapore, and Indonesia has called off the search for the night. Some boats will continue to look. Additionally, AirAsia’s CEO is now enroute to Indonesia.
Update at 2:37 AM ET:
As a service to readers unfamiliar with the airline in question, Indonesia AirAsia is a part of a group of airlines using the AirAsia brand, anchored by AirAsia (the airline). AirAsia is a low cost airline based in Malaysia that owns a 49% stake in the Indonesian carrier. There are also airlines operating with the AirAsia brand in India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Since it began operations in 2004, Indonesia AirAsia has a completely clean safety record, with only one incident, a “firm” landing of a Boeing 737-700 at Medan on May 25th, 2007. The incident resulted in no injuries for passengers and crew, though it did necessitate repairs for the aircraft. Overall, airlines operating under the AirAsia brand name have not recorded any fatal accidents since the original brand was launched in 1996.
Update at 1:30 AM ET:
The Indonesian government has released a passenger manifest (see below) as well as a load and trim sheet for the flight. According to the manifest, there were 162 on board: 155 passengers (154 adults and one infant), plus 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew, as well as 23 no-shows who were on the manifest but did not fly.
According to AirNav Indonesia, the flight told Jakarta ATC that it was ascending to 38,000 feet to avoid the weather and deviating left. However, leaked but unconfirmed photos of the ATC from @GerryS on Twitter indicate that the aircraft was at 36,300 feet when last seen, and moving at a speed of 353 knots, far lower than normal. According to Reuters, no distress signal was sent from the aircraft.
There are unconfirmed rumors that the aircraft was spotted east of Belitung Island (off the coast of Surabaya), but at the moment, those rumors have no independent verification. A multi-nation search and rescue effort is underway using both air and naval resources from countries in the region including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and others. This initiative will begin at the point of last contact and spread outwards from there. However, significant residual weather effects in the region may hamper such efforts.
Update at 12:40 AM ET:
AirAsia has released another statement confirming that the aircraft has lost contact with ATC and search and rescue operations are underway. Additionally, the airline explained that captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours. The statement is below:
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:
3 South Korean
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.
Update at 12:05 AM ET:
Below is what we know as well as some information on the aircraft.
There were 155 passengers and 7 crew on-board the flight. There was one Singaporean, one British, one Malaysian, three Koreans, and 149 Indonesians on the flight, according to CCTV.
The flight was operated by a Airbus A320 that was delivered to AirAsia in late 2008. The aircraft has two CFMI CFM56-5B6/3 engines. AirAsia has 169 Airbus A320-200 aircraft in its fleet with another 58 on order.
CCTV has reported that local media says that an aircraft crashed east of Belitung Island, Indonesia, but nobody has been able to confirm if this was AirAsia 8501.
Update at 11:35 PM ET:
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) released the following statement:
28 December 2014, 11:30am Local Time:- An Indonesia AirAsia aircraft, QZ8501, scheduled to arrive at 0830 hours local time from Surabaya, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 0724 hours local time today. Singapore air traffic control was informed of this loss of contact at 0754 hours by Jakarta air traffic control. The aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region (FIR) when contact was lost, more than 200 nm southeast of the Singapore-Jakarta FIR boundary.
Search and rescue operations have been activated by the Indonesian authorities from the Pangkal Pinang Search and Rescue office.
The Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and supported by various agencies, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), has also been activated and has offered help to the Indonesian authorities. Two C130s are already on stand-by for this purpose. We remain ready to provide any assistance to support the search and rescue effort.
The CAAS and Changi Airport Group (CAG) Crisis Management Centres have already been activated. We are working with the airline’s crisis management team.
A waiting area, and all necessary facilities and support have been set up for relatives and friends of the affected passengers at Changi Airport Terminal 2 (Level 3).
Further updates will be provided once more information is available.
Update at 10:50 PM ET:
According to Indonesia Search and Rescue, the last known position was over the Gulf of Kumai.
Update at 10:50 PM ET:
AirAsia has released the following statement:
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.