Did pilots receive weather briefing?

Did pilots receive weather briefing?
Bad weather has been hampering search operations for Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501. The airline stressed that it takes weather reports seriously and evaluates them carefully.

A week after Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed amid rough weather, questions are being asked about whether the pilots received a weather update and briefing before departure.

This is standard operating procedure, other pilots said.

In a report to Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan - which was leaked to local media - Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said the airline collected the weather report at 7am.

This was about 1½ hours after the plane left Surabaya's Juanda International Airport at 5.35am on Dec 28.

By then, the Airbus 320-200 bound for Singapore had crashed into the Java Sea, presumably killing all 162 people on board.

The airline's chief executive officer Sunu Widyatmoko has denied any wrongdoing and stressed that it takes weather reports seriously and evaluates them carefully, said The Jakarta Post.

He said the meteorological agency's station at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport sends reports via e-mail four times a day to Indonesia AirAsia's operations centre.

"These reports are accepted by the operations control centre at all AirAsia Indonesia hubs, which are in Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, Bandung and Denpasar, where they are printed out and kept by pilots," he added.

In a text message to reporters yesterday, an official from the Transport Minister's office, Mr Hadi Djuraid, seemed to suggest the airline may have received the weather update before the flight but did not conduct the required briefing.

This is to ensure pilots know what to expect on a flight and are prepared for problems.

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