Missing AirAsia flight: Stay strong, Tony Fernandes urges

PETALING JAYA - AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (pic) has asked his company to stay strong after Flight QZ8501 lost communication with Indonesia's Surabaya airport 42 minutes after takeoff at 5:35am local time Sunday.

"We will be putting out another statement soon. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We must stay strong," tweeted Fernandes at 12.52pm on Sunday.

The plane with 162 people aboard lost contact with ground control on Sunday after takeoff from Indonesia on the way to Singapore, and the airline said search and rescue operations were underway.

AirAsia said in a statement that the plane was an Airbus A320-200 and that search and rescue operations were in progress.