AirAsia Indonesia confirms debris found is part of flight QZ8501

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 30): PT AirAsia Indonesia, in which AirAsia Group has a 49% stake, announced that the The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) has confirmed that the debris found on the Java Sea earlier today is from its flight QZ8501, which had lost contact with air traffic control on 6.24am, Dec 28.

In a media statement this evening, AirAsia Indonesia said the debris of the aircraft was found in the Karimata Strait, around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun.

The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200, with the registration number PK-AXC. There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and one infant. Also on board were two pilots, four cabin crews and one engineer, it added.

“I am absolutely devastated. This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations, but our first priority now is the wellbeing of the family members of those on board QZ8501,” AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Indonesia chief executive officer Sunu Widyatmoko said, “We are sorry to be here today, under these tragic circumstances. We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues.”

AirAsia Indonesia added it will be inviting family members to Surabaya, where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family, to ensure all of their needs are met.

“Counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel have also been invited to the family center to provide any necessary services,” the group said.

Despite negative sentiments, AirAsia closed 1.86% or 5 sen higher at RM2.74 today, giving it a market capitalisation of RM 7.62 billion. Meanwhile, its sister company, AirAsia X Bhd, closed 3.17% or 2 sen higher at 65 sen, bringing its market capitalisation to RM1.53 billion.