Jakarta: AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandez on Sunday said his firm would let Indonesian agencies lead the search for the missing flight QZ8501, and refused to speculate on the plane's disappearance.
"Now, we (will) let the searching efforts to (be led by the) Indonesian agencies. We do not want to make any speculation. Let's find the plane first," Fernandez said in a joint press conference at Indonesia's Juanda airport, from where the plane departed early this morning for Singapore, reported Xinhua
Fernandez said that the missing Airbus A320-200 was produced in 2008 and was in good condition as it had undergone maintenance programmes periodically.
Besides that, the pilot in command of the plane was a very experienced one, he said.
AirAsia had said that the flight's captain had 6,100 flying hours to his credit and the first officer 2,275.
The conference was attended by Indonesian state-owned airport operator, Angkasa Pura (AP) Juanda's general manager Trikora Harjo; East Java Governor Soekarwo and a representative of the National Search and Rescue agency (Basarnas).
Fernandez said that should anything bad happen to the plane, his firm had prepared to fulfil its obligation to the passengers, including insurance compensation.
He added that it was the first case faced by the firm, which is well known for its budget flight service.
The Basarnas representative said that the agency had despatched seven vessels soon after it received information on flight QZ8501 losing contact with the air traffic control.
Planes and helicopters from the air force had also been despatched to search for the missing plane.
He added that Singapore and Malaysia had offered assistance to search for the missing plane.
The Airbus A320-200 aircraft with 155 passengers and seven crew members onboard went missing soon after taking off from Surabaya in Indonesia's East Java province early Sunday morning.
The aircraft was at 32,000 feet over the Java Sea in Indonesian territory when it lost contact with the air traffic control. A thunderstorm was raging in the area at that time.