PETALING JAYA: Indonesia's Transport Ministry has suspended AirAsia's Surabaya-Singapore route, effective Friday, for violating the operational hours allowed to ply the route.
Kompas.com reported Saturday that the airline had violated a letter of authorisation issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation dated Oct 28, 2014, which stated that it was only allowed to ply the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
However, AirAsia Indonesia was found to have contravened the permit by using the route on Sunday, Dec 28, the day flight QZ8501 carrying 162 people on board went missing.
"This is therefore a temporary suspension," said the ministry's public communications head JA Batara in a statement, adding that the ban may be reconsidered upon completion of the investigation on the date of flight QZ8501 by the National Transportation Safety Committee of Indonesia.
Passengers who have already purchased tickets for the Surabaya-Singapore route have been advised to change their flight schedules.
Meanwhile, Air Asia Indonesia's safety and security director Captain Ahmad Sadikin said on Friday that he was not yet aware of the suspension and reiterated that the airline had never operated a route without a permit.
"I cannot answer in detail, since I have not heard about the suspension yet. But if we do not have permission, then definitely we will not fly," Sadikin was quoted as saying.