Missing AirAisa plane was not authorised to fly route, officials say

The airline says it will cooperate full with authorities' investigation into the circumstances that led up to the crash

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The Independent Online

The AirAsia plane that went missing in the Java Sea was not authorised to fly the route on the schedule it took, according to Indonesia’s transport ministry. 

Flight QZ8501 went missing with 162 people on board whilst flying from Indonesia’s second largest city Surabaya to the city-state of Singapore last weekend.

“It violated the route permit given, the schedule given, that’s the problem,” Djoko Murdjatmodjo, the country’s acting director of air transport told the AFP news agency today.

The plane’s schedule had not been cleared with officials, he added.

It is not clear how the plane came to fly the route without authorisation.

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An Indonesian woman cries as she holds a candle during a vigil for the victims in Surabaya

AirAsia’s permit to fly the route has been frozen and its licence to fly in Indonesia could be revoked as a result of the revelation.

A transport ministry spokesperson said AirAsia was not permitted to fly the route on Sundays. A spokesperson for AirAsia said the company would cooperate with the authorities’ investigation.

The revelation comes as search teams looking for wreckage of the flight locate two large objects of interest in the Java Sea.

 

The objects, spotted on the ocean floor by an Indonesian navy ship using sonar, were detected early on Friday and were further examined by a specially equipped geological survey vessel late last night.

“I’m confident this is part of the AirAsia plane,” Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of the country’s National Search and Rescue Agency said.

Teams are trying to get closer to the objects using a remote control submersible, which would allow them to produce images.

The Airbus A320 crashed mid-way through its two-hour flight last Sunday.

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An Indonesian Navy helicopter assists in the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 near Batam, south of Singapore

Minutes before losing contact with air traffic controllers, the plane’s pilot requested and was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude to avoid bad weather.

Indonesian aviation experts have said the plane behaved in ways “bordering on the edge of logic” when it disappeared last Sunday.

Earlier in the week, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes suggested the flight had run into "very unique weather” said climate change could be be making flights more risky, particularly tropical regions.

So far, only 30 bodies have been recovered by search and rescue teams, who believe that bad weather has scattered debris and corpses over a wide area.

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Messages for passengers on board the missing AirAsia flight 8501 are placed on a board at Changi International Airport in Singapore

Families have faced an agonising wait to recover their loved ones. Search teams believe most of the plane’s passengers are likely to be trapped inside the aircraft’s fuselage.

The first victim of the crash to be identified was Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, who was wearing a nametag on her red uniform. Her identify was informed by a fingerprint check and her body has been returned to her family.

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