Indonesia official says ‘pings’ detected in search for AirAsia flight recorders

admin   •   January 9, 2015   •   2100

Indonesian navy divers prepare operations to lift the tail of AirAsia flight QZ8501 from the Java sea January 9, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/ADEK BERRY/POOL

(Reuters) – Indonesia search and rescue teams hunting for the wreck of an AirAsia passenger jet detected pings in their efforts to find the black box flight recorders on Friday, an official said, 12 days after the plane went missing with 162 people on board.

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 vanished from radar screens on Dec. 28, less than half way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors.

Forty-eight bodies, including at least two still strapped to their seats, have been found in waters off Borneo, but strong winds and high waves have hampered efforts to reach larger pieces of suspected wreckage detected by sonar on the sea floor.

The Airbus A320-200 carries the cockpit voice and flight data recorders near the tail section. Officials had warned, however, that they could have become separated from the tail.

Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee, said it appeared that the flight recorders were no longer in the tail.

“We received an update from the field that the pinger locator already detected pings,” he told Reuters.

“We have our fingers crossed it is the black box. Divers need to confirm. Unfortunately it seems it’s off from the tail. But the divers need to confirm the position.”

The tail was found on Wednesday, upturned on the sea bed about 30 km (20 miles) from the plane’s last known location at a depth of around 30 meters.

Indonesian search teams loaded lifting balloons on to helicopters on Friday ahead of an operation to raise the tail.

The head of the search and rescue agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, said he assumed the flight recorders were still in the tail and that reports they had separated had yet to be confirmed.

“The divers are tying the tail with straps and then we will try (to lift it) two ways – floating balloons combined with cranes, so that the tail sector wouldn’t be damaged,” he told reporters. “Because we assume the black box is in the tail sector.”

He said two bodies had been found still attached to their seats, with local television reporting that one of the recovered seats was from the cockpit.

“Looking for victims is still our main priority besides the black box,” he said.

Relatives of the victims have urged authorities to make finding the remains of their loved ones the priority.

Indonesia AirAsia, 49 percent owned by the Malaysia-based AirAsia budget group, has come under pressure from the authorities in Jakarta since the crash.

The transport ministry has suspended the carrier’s Surabaya-Singapore license, saying it only had permission to fly the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Flight QZ8501 took off on a Sunday, though the ministry said this had no bearing on the accident.

While the cause of the crash is not known, the national weather bureau has said seasonal tropical storms common in the area were likely to be a factor.

(Additional reporting by Nicholas Owen, Michael Taylor, Eveline Danubrata, Wilda Asmarini and Nilufar Rizki in Jakarta, Kanupriya Kapoor in Pangkalan Bun and Fransiska Nangoy in Surabaya; Writing by Nick Macfie)

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AirAsia cancels selected flights to South Korea

Marje Pelayo   •   March 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malaysian low-cost airline, AirAsia, announced on Tuesday (March 3) the cancellation of several flights to South Korea in compliance with the Philippine government’s directive imposing travel restrictions due to public health risks associated with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to the current public health situation, AirAsia is cancelling some of its flights between the Philippines and South Korea until further notice from the government.

Flights affected include the airline’s Manila and Seoul-Incheon; Cebu and Seoul-Incheon; Kalibo and Seoul-Incheon as well as Kalibo and Busan.

FLIGHT NO. DEPARTURE ARRIVAL CANCELLED DATES
Z2 38 Kalibo Seoul-Incheon March 4 – March 28 Cancelled on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays  
Z2 39 Seoul-Incheon Kalibo March 4 – March 28 Cancelled on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays  
Z2 58 Kalibo Busan March 7 – March 28 Cancelled on Saturdays  
Z2 59 Busan Kalibo March 7 – March 28 Cancelled on Saturdays  
Z2 7046 Cebu Seoul-Incheon March 3 – March 28 Cancelled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays  
Z2 7047 Seoul-Incheon Cebu March 3 – March 28 Cancelled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays  
Z2 888 Manila Seoul-Incheon March 4 – March 28 Cancelled Daily  
Z2 889 Seoul-Incheon Manila March 4 – March 28 Cancelled Daily

Meanwhile, flights to South Korea coming from Clark International Airport will continue as it is, as well as selected flights from Manila, Cebu, and Kalibo.

Passengers are advised to check on their flights via the “Flight Status” function on the airasia.com website and mobile app.

AirAsia assured that all affected guests will receive a prompt notification via email or SMS.

The airline added that it is complying with advice and regulations from the local government, civil aviation authorities, global and local health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

For additional information on flight cancellations, AirAsia advises clients to refer to the company’s official website.

AirAsia cancels PH flights to Taiwan amid novel coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – AirAsia on Tuesday, February 11, announced the cancellation of its flights between the Philippines and Taiwan in compliance with the Philippine government’s expanded travel restrictions to China and its regions that were affected by the outbreak of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

In an advisory, the AirAsia said that flights going Taiwan (Taipei and Kaohsiung) are now cancelled until further notice.

The airliner previously cancelled flights from the Philippines to and from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao until March 2020.

AirAsia guests affected by the flight cancellations and travel restrictions may choose from the following options:

  • Move flight: One-time flight change to a new travel date on the same route within 30 calendar days beginning 29 March 2020 from original flight time without additional cost, subject to seat availability. Applicable for guests affected by cancelled flights and travel restrictions imposed.
  • Credit account: Retain the value of your fare in your AirAsia BIG Loyalty account for future travel with AirAsia. The online credit account is to be redeemed for booking within 90 calendar days from the issuance date for your travel with us. The actual travel dates can be after the expiry date as long as our flight schedule is out. This is applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.
  • Full refund: Obtain a full refund to your original payment method for the amount equivalent to your booking. Applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.

AirAsia said guests whose flights fall into the above date range can obtain a full refund in the amount equivalent to that booking in the form of original payment. Refund requests can be made with AVA at support.airasia.com. 

For bookings made through travel agents including online travel agents, refund requests are to be made via the respective travel agents.

AirAsia also strongly encourages its guests to update their contact details to ensure that they receive timely notifications.

The airline company’s action follows the Department of Health’s announcement Monday that Taiwan is covered in the expanded travel ban in an effort to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.

First officer flying AirAsia jet at time of crash-investigators

admin   •   January 29, 2015

Rescue team members walk as they carry the wreckage of a seat of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 airliner at Kumai port in Pangkalan Bun, January 19, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/BEAWIHARTA

(Reuters) – The French first officer of an AirAsia (AIRA.KL) passenger jet that crashed into the sea last month was at the controls at the time of the accident, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said on Thursday.

Mardjono Siswosuwarno, head investigator for the NTSC, told reporters the flight data recorder recovered from the bottom of the Java Sea provided a “pretty clear picture” of what happened in the last moments of AirAsia Flight QZ8501. But he did not give details.

The Airbus (AIR.PA) A320 vanished from radar screens in bad weather on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed.

“The second-in-command, popularly known as the co-pilot, who usually sits to the right of the cockpit. At the time, he was flying the plane,” Mardjono said. “The captain, sitting to the left, was the pilot monitoring.”

Mardjono said the cockpit voice and flight data recorders showed that the plane had been cruising at a stable altitude before the crash. The aircraft was in sound condition when it took off, and all crew members were properly certified, he said.

“The plane was flying before the incident within the limits of weight and balance envelope,” Mardjono said. “While flight crew had valid licences and medical certificates.”

NTSC chief Tatang Kurniadi told the same Jakarta news conference that Indonesia had submitted its preliminary report on the crash to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on Wednesday, as required under global aviation rules.

The report, which has not been made public, was purely factual and contained no analysis, he said, adding that the full, final report would take at least 6-7 months to complete.

Indonesia has previously said the aircraft climbed abruptly from its cruising height and then stalled, or lost lift, before plunging out of control into the Java Sea.

On Wednesday Indonesia said the search for dozens of victims still unaccounted for could end within days if no more bodies were found.

A multinational search and recovery operation has found 70 bodies in the Java Sea and had hoped to find more after finding the fuselage of the plane. But days of rough weather and poor underwater visibility hampered navy divers’ efforts.

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor, Fergus Jensen and Fransiska Nangoy; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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