AirAsia QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore is missing with 162 on board. This is a ~ 2 hour 20 minute, 854 mile flight, operated by Indonesia AirAsia.
The plane lost contact with air traffic control in Jakarta at around 7:24am (local time) while over the Java Sea. The flight is presumed down, and speculation is that the problems faced by the Airbus A320 (registration PK-AXC) were weather-related.
Watching coverage this morning I’m struck, as in all aviation disasters, how little information we actually have yet how many people are anxious to appear on television and speculate wildly.
After thinking about the passengers and crew onboard, their families, and the staff of the airline my next two thoughts were:
- US news outlets are running headlines like “Another Missing Plane” (emphasis mine). An AirAsia flight without any Americans onboard makes big news in the US precisely because air disasters are so rare.
- Is it wrong that one of my first thoughts was that I’m glad the AirAsia flight wasn’t headed to or from Malaysia, that Malaysia has had enough bad luck in 2014? (That it wasn’t flying to Malaysia shouldn’t minimize the tragedy for everyone affected.)
I have no idea what the real causes or issues were involved at this point, beyond news reporting. There’s plenty of historical problems with aviation in the region (until 2010 nearly all Indonesian carriers were banned from flying to the EU), but I have full confidence in AirAsia procedures. The carrier, the former Awair, has an outstanding record.