MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – An AirAsia plane carrying 162 people on board disappeared Sunday morning, December 28.
Based on reports, air traffic controllers lost contact with AirAsia flight QZ8501 while it was in Indonesian air space at around 7:24 am.
In its statement, AirAsia said the missing jet last went through maintenance on November 16, 2014. In addition, the Airbus A320 plane, with registration number PK-AXC, first took to the skies in September 2008, according to the website airfleets.net.
If confirmed to be a plane crash, it would be a first in AirAsia’s history.
According to the Aviation Safety Network database, AirAsia has no major accident or plane crash on record, up until the disappearance of flight QZ8501 Sunday.
The database has only one incident for AirAsia so far: a runway excursion by AirAsia flight AK5218 shortly after landing amid heavy rains at the Kuching Airport in Malaysia on January 10, 2011. All 123 passengers and 6 crew members were safe.
Recently, on July 7, 2014, AirAsia flight AK278 also skidded off the runway, after safely landing at Brunei’s Bandar Seri Begawan International Airport. All 102 passengers and 7 crew members on board disembarked safely, reported Malaysia’s The Star Online, quoting AirAsia.
The pioneer “no-frills” low-cost airline was founded in Malaysia in 1993, and was originally owned by Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom.
In 2001, the airline, which was then operating at a loss, was acquired by businessmen Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin bin Meranun. Fernandes now serves as the group chief executive officer (CEO) of the AirAsia Berhad, while bin Meranun is the company’s executive chairman.
Its fleet of Airbus A320 and A330 planes now fly to over 88 destinations across Asia and Australia, according to AirAsia’s website.
AirAsia has won the “World’s Best Low-Cost Airline” award of British airline review and ranking site Skytrax 6 times since 2009, and the “Best Low-Cost Airline in Asia” award in 2007*. – Rappler.com
* Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, we said that AirAsia won Skytrax’s annual “World’s Best Low-Cost Airline” award 7 times, inclusive of 2007. But in 2007, it received the “Best Low-Cost Airline in Asia” award, and not the “World’s Best Low-Cost Airline” award. It therefore won this award only 6 and not 7 times. We regret the error.