AirAsia flight QZ8501: Indonesia suspends airport officials following plane crash

Indonesia announced on Saturday that it had banned all AirAsia flights between Surabaya and Singapore

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The Independent Online

Indonesia’s transportation ministry has revealed harsh measures against any officials who permitted AirAsia Flight 8501 to take off without proper permits.

Acting director general of air transportation Djoko Murjatmodjo said that as well as the suspension of the airport’s operator and officials in the control tower; the licenses and schedules of all airlines flying in the country will be examined to see whether they are violating the flight rules.

Flight 8501’s disappearance on 28 December after it crashed into the Java Sea launched a mass search operation, which has so far recovered 37 of the plane’s 162 passengers and crew, including three on Monday 5 January.

While the airline is being investigated, Indonesia announced on Saturday 3 January that it had banned all AirAsia flights between Surabaya and Singapore.

Mr Murjatmodjo said the ministry also ordered all airlines to provide pilots with up-to-date weather reports before they take off.

 

It is not known what caused Flight 8501 to crash into the Java Sea 42 minutes after take-off, on what was supposed to be a two hour flight.

Just before losing contact, the pilot told air traffic control that he was approaching threatening clouds, but was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude because of heavy air traffic.

On Monday, relatives of the crash victims were offered a chance to visit the site where the plane crashed into the sea, to scatter flowers and say good-bye.

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Subekti, a tomb caretaker cleans up Hayati Lutfiah Hamid's grave, the first identified victim of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash at Sawo Tratap Islamic cemetery in Surabaya, Indonesia

"I will facilitate the families of the victims who want to see the scene directly and how rescuers are battling high waves and bad weather to search for their loved ones and the plane," said General Moeldoko, Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian National Defence Forces.

"We'll prepare two aircraft and a warship for them to go there and throw flowers."

Additional reporting by AP

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