Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 – Search and Rescue

AirAsia Airbus A320 9M-AFN Side view
AirAsia Airbus A320 9M-AFN Side view

KUALA LUMPUR, December 29th 2014 – An Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 has lost contact from Indonesian air traffic controller yesterday morning (December 28th 2014) and is still missing as of 12:55 AM today.

Search and rescue process is underway. Listed below are countries that offer help or already helping with search and rescue process of Flight QZ 8501.

Summary: Many countries are offering help as of now. Indonesia is leading the search and rescue team. Search for Day 1 has been suspended after dusk because of lack of sunlight. Search will resume on Day 2 (Monday).

 

Search Update – Day 2 (December 29th 2014)

Updated on 11:14 AM

The search resumes after it was suspended the previous night. More nations are expection to join the search today.

Australia has deployed a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft to assist in search operations. The Australian air force and navy joined the search ops.

 

Australia

A P3 Orion aircraft is on standby to assist with search process.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also spoke with Indonesian President, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to express his condolences of the incident and offer assistance as necessary. Foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop has confirmed that there are no Australians onboard. Nevertheless, she reiterated that Australia is offering support and assistance as necessary (source).

 

India

Pranav Kulkarni said Indian Navy keeps P8i maritime reconnaissance aircraft at INS Rajali. Three ships are also on standby for search and rescue.

 

Indonesia

Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency deployed seven ships and two helicopters to search the shores of Belitung and Kalimantan, shortly after the aircraft reported missing.

Indonesian Air Force Boeing 737 reconnaissance aircraft has also been sent to the last known location of Flight QZ 8501.

Indonesian Navy said it has dispatched four ships by the end of Day 1 of search operation.

Indonesian Army deployed ground troops to search at shores and mountans of adjacent islands.

 

Malaysia

Malaysia has set up a rescue coordination center in Subang and put three aircraft and three military vessels to assist in search and rescue operation.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said Putrajaya will assist Indonesia AirAsia in finding the missing aircraft. The media statement was made during an event in Lipis, Pahang on December 28th 2014.

 

Singapore

Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) has initially deployed a C0130 Hercules aircraft for search and rescue process of Indonesia AirAsia QZ 8501. A Singaporean officer will be deployed to Jakarta to aid Indonesian authorities on search operation and two more C-130 Hercules will be deployed for search and rescue operation.

 

United States

No direct assistance is being offered as of now.

Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman told media that US President, Barack Obama has been briefed about the situation and White House officials will continue to monitor the progress.

Notes

  • Originally published on 1:13 AM, December 29th 2014
  • Updated on 11:14 AM, December 29th 2014
  • Revision 2

Indonesia AirAsia QZ 8501 is Malaysian or Indonesian?

AirAsia Airbus A320 9M-AFN Side view
AirAsia Airbus A320 9M-AFN Side view

Malaysia has already been hit by two major aviation disasters, namely Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 and Flight MH 17. AirAsia, the leading budget carrier of Asia starts operation in Malaysia. Therefore, the recent Indonesia AirAsia incident is also associated with Malaysia although it has very little connection with Malaysia / Malaysian government.

Indonesia AirAsia Ownership Information

Contrary to popular belief, AirAsia Berhad does not hold majority share in Indonesia AirAsia. This is because Indonesian law does not allow majority foreign ownership of domestic civil aviation operations.

 

Indonesia, not Malaysia

For Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ 8501, we must keep in mind of the following:

  • Flight QZ 8501 is an Indonesian aircraft, bound by Indonesian rules and regulations.
  • The flight also departed from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore. The flight lost contact with Indonesian air traffic controller in Indonesian Airspace.

There is quite a number of internet users mistaken this as a Malaysian aircraft:

Comment on AirAsia Facebook page 141228 1712
Comment on AirAsia Facebook page 141228 1712

This one is taken on AirAsia Facebook page.

 

Comment on RT.com page 141228 1712
Comment on RT.com page 141228 1712

Another screenshot taken from Russian-based news portal also indicated the same sentiment.

We hope that news outlets should be more specific in reporting news to prevent false news and sentiments being raised, especially in light of two aviation disasters involving Malaysia before.

It is important for us to stop the blame game and let the respective government(s) and authorities focus on their investigation instead.

Nevertheless, AirAsia is one of the safest airline in the world with no prior incident with fatalities.

AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 – Flight Path

Flightradar24 via its Twitter account @flightradar24 has published the flight path for AirAsia QZ 8501.

AirAsia QZ 8501 Flight Path - Picture from flightradar24.com
AirAsia QZ 8501 Flight Path – Picture from flightradar24.com

 

From the picture, we can see that the aircraft lost its ADS-B transmission while it is in cruise altitude and speed. This is quite unlikely as the aircraft is at the safest phase during cruise phase.

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 – Flight Path

Flightradar24 via its Twitter account @flightradar24 has published the flight path for AirAsia QZ 8501.

AirAsia QZ 8501 Flight Path - Picture from flightradar24.com
AirAsia QZ 8501 Flight Path – Picture from flightradar24.com

 

From the picture, we can see that the aircraft lost its ADS-B transmission while it is in cruise altitude and speed. This is quite unlikely as the aircraft is at the safest phase during cruise phase.

AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 – 1st Statement by AirAsia

The following statement is posted on its Facebook page and shared via Twitter @airasia as well.

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.