Weather frustrates AirAsia search divers, no ‘pings’ detected

admin   •   January 5, 2015   •   2178

An Indonesian Navy seaboat (R) picks up items retrieved from the Republic of Singapore Navy vessel RSS Valour in this handout photo provided by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, released to Reuters January 4, 2015. REUTERS/Singapore Ministry of Defence/Handout via Reuters

(Reuters) – Bad weather forced divers trying to identify sunken wreckage from a crashed AirAsia passenger jet to abort their mission on Sunday and Indonesian officials said they had not yet picked up any signals from the lost plane’s “black box”.

Indonesia’s meteorological agency has said seasonal tropical storms probably contributed to last Sunday’s crash and the weather has persistently hampered efforts to recover bodies and find the cockpit voice and flight data recorders that may explain why the Airbus A320-200 plunged into the sea.

“Conditions did not allow diving operations,” the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, told a news conference in Jakarta. “Our priority is to dive in the location we suspect parts of the plane to be.”

Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea about 40 minutes after taking off last Sunday from Indonesia’s second-largest city Surabaya en route for Singapore. There were no survivors.

The main focus of the search is about 90 nautical miles off the coast of Borneo island, where five large objects believed to be parts of the plane — the largest about 18 meters (59 feet) long — have been pinpointed by ships using sonar.

“Based on past experience, the black box is not far from the plane debris we have found,” Soelistyo said. But he added that none of the searching ships had detected any “pings”, the locator signals the black box should transmit after a crash.

Until investigators can examine the black box recorders the cause of the crash remains a mystery, but the area is known for intense seasonal storms. BMKG, Indonesia’s meteorological agency, has said bad weather may have caused ice to form on the aircraft’s engines.

“The flight document provided by the BMKG office shows fairly worrying weather conditions for the aircraft at cruising level on the chosen route,” the agency said in a report.

BAD WEATHER

Both flight recorders are located near the tail of the Airbus, but it was unclear whether that part of the aircraft was among the debris found on the seabed.

“Based on the finding of pieces of debris it looks like the body of the aircraft split or cracked and was separated from its tail,” said Air Force Lt Col Johnson Supriyadi, a search and rescue official co-ordinating the operation from the southern Borneo town of Pangkalan Bun.

The suspected wreckage is lying in water around 30 meters deep, which experts say should make it relatively straightforward to recover.

Nine ships from four countries have converged on the area, with teams of divers including seven Russian experts standing ready, but strong winds and four-meter high waves have kept progress agonizingly slow.

“There’s a storm … Earlier, four divers were transferred to (Indonesian navy ship) KRI Banda Aceh but they canceled the diving because the sea currents were too strong,” said a Reuters photographer on board one vessel.

Second Sergeant Akhyar of the search and rescue agency described what it was like being winched onto the deck of a ship to collect bodies in such conditions.

“The wind makes you spin and I’m quite light, so I get blown left and right, swinging,” he said.

BODIES MAY BE IN FUSELAGE

Thirty-four bodies of the mostly Indonesian passengers and crew have so far been recovered, including some still strapped in their seats. Many more may be still trapped in the fuselage of the aircraft.

“This big part of the plane, we still have hope that victims are still inside the body of the plane,” said Soelistiyo, adding that he was referring to one of the five objects found.

The crash was the first fatal accident suffered by the AirAsia budget group, whose Indonesian affiliate flies from at least 15 destinations across the sprawling archipelago.

The airline has come under pressure from Indonesian authorities, who have suspended its Surabaya to Singapore operations saying the carrier only had a license to fly the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Indonesia AirAsia said it would co-operate with the transport ministry while it investigates the license.

A joint statement from Singapore’s civil aviation authority (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group said that AirAsia had the necessary approvals to operate a daily flight between Surabaya and Singapore.

(Additional reporting by Beawiharta ABOARD KN PURWOREJO, Nilufar Rizki, Adriana Nina Kusuma, Chris Nusatya, Cindy Silviana, Kanupriya Kapoor, Michael Taylor, Charlotte Greenfield and Nicholas Owen in JAKARTA, and Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Michael Perry, Kim Coghill and Gareth Jones)

AirAsia cancels selected flights to South Korea

Marje Pelayo   •   March 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malaysian low-cost airline, AirAsia, announced on Tuesday (March 3) the cancellation of several flights to South Korea in compliance with the Philippine government’s directive imposing travel restrictions due to public health risks associated with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to the current public health situation, AirAsia is cancelling some of its flights between the Philippines and South Korea until further notice from the government.

Flights affected include the airline’s Manila and Seoul-Incheon; Cebu and Seoul-Incheon; Kalibo and Seoul-Incheon as well as Kalibo and Busan.

FLIGHT NO. DEPARTURE ARRIVAL CANCELLED DATES
Z2 38 Kalibo Seoul-Incheon March 4 – March 28 Cancelled on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays  
Z2 39 Seoul-Incheon Kalibo March 4 – March 28 Cancelled on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays  
Z2 58 Kalibo Busan March 7 – March 28 Cancelled on Saturdays  
Z2 59 Busan Kalibo March 7 – March 28 Cancelled on Saturdays  
Z2 7046 Cebu Seoul-Incheon March 3 – March 28 Cancelled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays  
Z2 7047 Seoul-Incheon Cebu March 3 – March 28 Cancelled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays  
Z2 888 Manila Seoul-Incheon March 4 – March 28 Cancelled Daily  
Z2 889 Seoul-Incheon Manila March 4 – March 28 Cancelled Daily

Meanwhile, flights to South Korea coming from Clark International Airport will continue as it is, as well as selected flights from Manila, Cebu, and Kalibo.

Passengers are advised to check on their flights via the “Flight Status” function on the airasia.com website and mobile app.

AirAsia assured that all affected guests will receive a prompt notification via email or SMS.

The airline added that it is complying with advice and regulations from the local government, civil aviation authorities, global and local health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

For additional information on flight cancellations, AirAsia advises clients to refer to the company’s official website.

AirAsia cancels PH flights to Taiwan amid novel coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – AirAsia on Tuesday, February 11, announced the cancellation of its flights between the Philippines and Taiwan in compliance with the Philippine government’s expanded travel restrictions to China and its regions that were affected by the outbreak of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

In an advisory, the AirAsia said that flights going Taiwan (Taipei and Kaohsiung) are now cancelled until further notice.

The airliner previously cancelled flights from the Philippines to and from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao until March 2020.

AirAsia guests affected by the flight cancellations and travel restrictions may choose from the following options:

  • Move flight: One-time flight change to a new travel date on the same route within 30 calendar days beginning 29 March 2020 from original flight time without additional cost, subject to seat availability. Applicable for guests affected by cancelled flights and travel restrictions imposed.
  • Credit account: Retain the value of your fare in your AirAsia BIG Loyalty account for future travel with AirAsia. The online credit account is to be redeemed for booking within 90 calendar days from the issuance date for your travel with us. The actual travel dates can be after the expiry date as long as our flight schedule is out. This is applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.
  • Full refund: Obtain a full refund to your original payment method for the amount equivalent to your booking. Applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.

AirAsia said guests whose flights fall into the above date range can obtain a full refund in the amount equivalent to that booking in the form of original payment. Refund requests can be made with AVA at support.airasia.com. 

For bookings made through travel agents including online travel agents, refund requests are to be made via the respective travel agents.

AirAsia also strongly encourages its guests to update their contact details to ensure that they receive timely notifications.

The airline company’s action follows the Department of Health’s announcement Monday that Taiwan is covered in the expanded travel ban in an effort to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.

Malacañang suspends gov’t work, classes in Metro Manila due to bad weather

Robie de Guzman   •   August 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang suspended work in government offices and classes in Metro Manila on Friday due to heavy rains brought about by the southwest monsoon (habagat) and the trough of a low pressure area.

Under Memorandum Circular No. 63 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea the suspension of government work and classes in all levels was declared effective at 3 p.m. Friday.

“Upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and in view of the continuing inclement weather, work in government offices, classes in schools (public and private) at all levels in Metro Manila are hereby suspended effective 3 p.m. today, 2 August 2019,” the circular read.

“However, those agencies whose functions involve the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness/response to disasters and calamities, and/or the performance of other vital services shall continue with their operations and render the necessary services,” it added.

Meanwhile, suspension of work in private companies will be left to be discretion of their management, the Palace said.

READ: #WalangPasok: Class cancellations for August 2

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