Although the fate of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 winging its way between Indonesia and Singapore is still unknown, there is a chance QZ8501 may be associated with the first fatalities in the 18-year history of AirAsia Bhd., based in Sepang, Malaysia. Air-traffic controllers lost contact with the flight soon after it departed the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya for the Singapore Changi Airport Sunday at 5:35 a.m. local time (Saturday at 5:35 p.m. EST).
Founded in 1996 and listed on the main market of the Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd. in 2004, AirAsia Bhd. is primarily a short-haul low-cost carrier whose operating units include Indonesia AirAsia, Philippines AirAsia and Thai AirAsia, according to the company. None of its flights have previously resulted in fatalities, AirSafe.com reported.
Overall, AirAsia Bhd. has been a big buyer of Airbus aircraft, with its long-haul carrier AirAsia X announcing Dec. 15 it had placed a purchase order for 55 A330neo models. The order “reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 aircraft,” the operating unit said.
Indonesia AirAsia shares its sibling’s affinity for Airbus: With an average age of 4.5 years, all 29 of its active aircraft were made by the manufacturer headquartered in Blagnac, France, according to Planespotters.net.