Update:: Bodies and debris found in the Java Sea have been confirmed as belonging to missing AirAsia flight QZ8501. Three days after the flight went missing, Indonesian officials spotted wreckage off the cost of Borneo. Three bodies have been recovered.
Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes expressed his sadness at the news on Twitter, writing: "My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am."
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he's asked rescue teams to focus on finding the bodies of passengers and crew.
This is a developing story. We'll continue to update as news breaks.
Sunday, December 28: An AirAsia Indonesia plane flying from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board has been reported missing, BBC News reports.
The plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared about halfway into the flight more than two hours from the city of Surabaya. No distress call was made. The flight, number QZ8501, lost contact with air traffic control at 6:24 a.m. local time over the Java Sea. Bad weather had been reported in the area and the missing jet had requested a "deviation" from the flight path to avoid thick storm clouds.
The air search was halted three hours ago as darkness fell. Planes from both Indonesia and Singapore had been scouring an area of sea between Kalimantan (Borneo) and Java. No wreckage has yet been found.
The flight was supposed to arrive in Singapore early this morning. Hours later the families of the passengers gathered there have very little information.
AirAsia's Chief Executive Tony Fernandes, who has flown to Surabaya, said: "We don't want to speculate but right now of course the plane has been missing for 12 hours and there's a deep sense of depression here."
A US National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said the agency is monitoring the search for the missing AirAsia plane and stands “ready to assist the Indonesians if needed."
Singapore's Prime Minister tweeted, saying he was saddened to hear of the missing flight.
AirAsia released the following statement: The airline says there are 157 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Malaysian, and one Singaporean on board.
AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 0724 (Surabaya LT) this morning. The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 0535 hours.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC. There were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board.
The captain in command had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours.
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
Nationalities of passengers and crew onboard are as below:
3 South Korean
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Indonesia of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC).
The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on 16 November 2014.
AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Center that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801. (BBC News reports)