December 28, 2014 - We are all concerned with reports that AirAsia Flight 8501, flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control early Sunday in Southeast Asia. According to the airline, the Airbus 320-200 was carrying 162 people: 155 passengers (137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant), 2 pilots, 4 cabin crew and one engineer.
We are holding the passengers, crew and their families in our hearts and minds, as we await answers. Rescue operations are underway in a heavily traveled shipping channel with shallow waters, according to Indonesian authorities, who are leading the search and rescue operations.
According to flight tracking websites, almost the entire flight path of the plane was over the sea.
Flight 8501 "was requesting deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost," the airline said. But the airline also cautioned the media to avoid speculation and our union supports this with experience in accident investigations.
As aviation’s first responders, we have dedicated our careers to maintaining the highest levels of safety and security in the aircraft cabin, and the news of Flight 8501 strikes at the heart of our union. As we wait for answers to the many questions surrounding this incident, we hold the crew, passengers and their families in our hearts and minds.
News of an airline irregularity or tragedy, regardless of the airline or country involved, can trigger powerful emotions for those working in the aviation industry. As details unfold, our emotional connections are likely to deepen. Remember, your AFA EAP is available to help any member with their thoughts and reaction to this incident. You can find your local AFA EAP committee members at www.afacwa.org or by calling the EAP international helpline at 800-424-2406.