KUALA LUMPUR – AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the company was still in the dark over what happened to AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 which went missing Sunday morning.
He told a press conference in Surabaya, Indonesia, the point of departure of the Singapore-bound Airbus A320-200, that the plane was in good condition and had undergone scheduled maintenance in November.
“This is a massive shock to us…unbelievable,” said a sombre-looking Fernandes at the media conference which was telecast live over Indonesian television monitored here.
To a question, Fernandes said he did not want to speculate on what happened to the missing plane with 162 people aboard, stressing that “we don’t know what went wrong”.
The Malaysian aviation magnate said he left it to the search and rescue operation teams to locate the six-year old aircraft, which left Surabaya at 5.35 am but lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control at 7.24 am. It was scheduled to reach Singapore at 8.20 am, all local times.
Those on board comprised 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, a French national and one Briton.
Fernandes said the priority now was looking after the next-of-kin of QZ8501’s passengers and crew.
In a series of tweets earlier, he said:
“I, as your group CEO, will be there through these hard times. We will go through this terrible ordeal together.”
Fernandes also said he was touched by the massive show of support, especially from fellow airlines.
“This is my worst nightmare,” said the entrepreneur as he was making his way to Surabaya “where most of the passengers were from as with my Indonesian management”. – Bernama