Indonesian search team raises tail of crashed AirAsia plane

admin   •   January 11, 2015   •   2148

The tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the Indonesian Search and Rescue (BASARNAS) ship Crest Onyx after it was lifted from the sea bed, south of Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan January 10, 2015. REUTERS/Suharso/Pool

(Reuters) – Indonesian search and rescue teams raised on Saturday the tail of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed nearly two weeks ago with the loss of all 162 people on board, but have yet to locate the black box flight recorders.

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control during bad weather on Dec. 28, less than half way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia to Singapore. There were no survivors.

Forty-eight bodies, including at least two strapped to their seats, have been found in the Java Sea off Borneo.

Search and rescue teams detected pings they believed were from the flight recorders on Friday and two teams of divers resumed the hunt soon after dawn on Saturday.

The tail of the Airbus A320-200 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 about 30 metres (100 feet).

Teams of divers working in rubber dinghies battled the swell to attach inflatable balloons to the tail section, which was later towed onto a rescue vessel nearby. But once the tail section was visible, it quickly became apparent that the flight recorders were still underwater.

“We can confirm the black box is not in the tail,” Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters in the town of Pangkalan Bun, the base for the search effort on Borneo.

The aircraft carries the cockpit voice and flight data recorders – or black boxes – near its tail.

However, officials had said earlier it looked as if the recorders, which will be vital to the investigation into why the airliner crashed, had become separated during the disaster.

“LARGE AREA”

Strong winds, currents and high waves have been hampering efforts to reach other large pieces of suspected wreckage detected by sonar on the sea floor, and to find the remaining victims.

On Friday, pings believed to be from the plane’s black box were detected about 1 km (half a mile) away from the tail.

“The location where the pings were (detected) has been flagged,” Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, the head of the search and rescue agency, told reporters. “If tomorrow the currents allow us to confirm it, we will confirm it immediately.”

If and when the recorders are found and taken to the capital, Jakarta, for analysis, it could take up to two weeks to download data, investigators said, although the information could be accessed in as little as two days if the devices are not badly damaged.

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

President Joko Widodo, who took office in late October, said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transport in Indonesia.

“Flights without route licenses must not exist. It can’t be like that. There must be a total overhaul (of the sector),” MetroTV broadcast Widodo as saying to reporters during a visit to the Surabaya airport, where the AirAsia flight originated.

The transport ministry has suspended the carrier’s Surabaya-Singapore licence for flying on a Sunday, which it did not have permission for.

The ministry has said this had no bearing on Flight QZ8501’s accident.

On Friday, the Transport Ministry announced it had found five other airlines had violated rules by flying some routes without permits, and that they would be prevented from using those routes until they obtained the necessary documentation.

They included state carrier Garuda Indonesia and private airline Lion Air.

(Additional reporting by Wilda Asmarini in Jakarta and Fransiska Nangoy in Surabaya; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Randy Fabi and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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.

Indonesia president formally proposes relocating capital to Borneo

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday (August 16) formally proposed to the parliament a plan to move the country’s capital from Jakarta, on the crowded island of Java, to Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

Widodo made the proposal during his State of the Union speech at the parliament, a day before the country celebrates its 74th independence anniversary.

The president who was elected to his second term last month said the move signatures a leap in the country’s progress and is the “realization of economic equality and justice”.

“A capital city is not just a symbol of national identity, but also a representation of the progress of the nation. This is for the realization of economic equality and justice. This is the vision of an advanced Indonesia,” he said.

Widodo visited three candidate cities in Kalimantan in May. He did not specify on Friday the exact location for the new capital.

The current capital Jakarta is home to more than 10 million people, but around three times that many live in the surrounding towns, adding to severe traffic congestion that the government estimated costs $7 billion in economic losses each year. (REUTERS)

(Production: Adi Kurniawan, Heru Asprihanto, Angie Teo)

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