It has been surmised that AirAsia flight QZ 8501 crashed over the Java Sea on Dec. 28 (local time). Under the circumstances, some experts and CNN suggested the possibility that a thunderstorm caused the disappearance of the passenger jet when it tried to change its altitude to avoid bad weather.
Meanwhile, CNN aviation analyst and former U.S. Department of Transportation investigator Mary Schiavo denied the possibility, mentioning that pilots receive meteorological information for their flights on an ongoing basis. The traffic authorities of Indonesia also announced that no distress signal was sent until immediately before the loss of communication. This is why pilot fault cannot be ruled out, even though AirAsia explained that the Indonesian captain and French co-pilot are veterans with flight times of 6,100 and 2,275 hours, respectively.
Another possibility is a problem with the plane or poor repair and maintenance. The A320-200 was delivered in October 2008 and has been in service for approximately 23,000 hours, which is enough to cause metal fatigue. In addition, its latest repair and maintenance was carried out about a month and a half ago.
Established in 2002 and currently running about 180 planes, AirAsia has expanded its overseas business quickly by setting up overseas subsidiaries in Thailand, Indonesia and many more Asian countries. A cumulative total of 250 million passengers or so have used its aircraft, but not a single major accident took place before the QZ 8501. AirAsia and AirAsia Philippines fly out of Incheon and Busan, too.