Two of the latest developments in the AirAsia 8501 investigation, ice potentially being a likely cause for the crash and facts emerging that AirAsia was not authorized to fly the route on the day of the incident.
Without the black boxes and a full investigation by the Indonesian transportation authorities and their international counterparts, it seems a bit early to make any assumptions, but Indonesian officials are claiming in a new report by the BMKG meteorological agency that icing that occurred while flying through storm clouds played a key role in the crash (full article and related video here):
“Based on the available data received on the location of the aircraft’s last contact, the weather was the triggering factor behind the accident,” said the report, which referred to infra-red satellite pictures showing peak cloud temperatures of minus 80 to minus 85 degrees Celsius at the time. “The most probable weather phenomenon was icing which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process. This is just one of the possibilities that occurred based on the analysis of existing meteorological data,” the report said.
In other news, the AFP is reporting that AirAsia didn’t have permission to fly from Surabaya to Singapore on that Sunday morning according to Indonesian officials. Transport Ministry spokesman J.A. Barata said the airline was only permitted to fly the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. “So AirAsia has committed a violation of the route that has been given to them.” He said the company’s flights from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, to Singapore had consequently been suspended on Friday. AirAsia used to have permission to fly the route daily, but the number of slots was cut for the period Oct. 26 to March 28 because the country was nearing its quota for flying people to Singapore, said Indonesia’s acting director general of aviation, Djoko Murjatmodjo. He didn’t say if other airlines also had their slots reduced. Full article here.