Transparency, compassion mark Malaysia’s latest aviation crisis
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Transparency, compassion mark Malaysia’s latest aviation crisis

The news of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 compounds terrible memories for Malaysians, as earlier this year Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 vanished and MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.

On social media, Malaysians have expressed their shock over today’s developments, at the end of what has been a tragic year for aviation in the country.

“#PrayForQZ8501 , 2014 has almost come to an end, but this kind of tragedy still happened … I hope the passengers in the flight are safe,” wrote one Twitter user.

Malaysian budget airline AirAsia lost contact with flight QZ8501 heading from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore this morning at 07.42am.

This is the third Malaysia-linked aviation tragedy this year. The search and rescue operations for QZ8501 have started, even as the international search for MH370 continues.

(LIVE: Search continues for missing AirAsia plane)

The short-haul flight from Surabaya to Singapore was expected to take not more than 2-3 hours. In the face of a thunderstorm, the pilot of QZ8501 requested to deviate from the flight route before contact was lost.

There were 162 people on the plane, including 16 children and one infant. There were 155 passengers and seven crew members on-board.

The red logo of AirAsia was switched to grey on Facebook and Twitter, after announcing that the airline had lost contact with flight QZ8501.

Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia encouraged everyone stay strong after announcing that contact had been lost with flight QZ8501.

The strong leadership and transparency of information on missing flight QZ8501 has received praise from many quarters.  There is a sense that this aviation crisis has been handled with far more professionalism than the Malaysian Airlines MH370 tragedy in March.

Social media users have also shown more reluctance to retweet and share unconfirmed rumors and reports. Even today, large news organizations such as China’s CCTV were reporting that wreckage had been found. Later, both Indonesian and Malaysian authorities denied that any debris had been sighted.