Leaked communication between AirAsia and air traffic control surfaces

Cape Town - An audio clip of a conversation between air traffic controllers at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya and the pilots of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 has surfaced, suggesting that the flight schedule had indeed been authorised, unlike previously stated.

The leaked conversation had originally been obtained by Indonesian media company KompasTekno, Astro Awani reports, and has since also been published to YouTube. 

Listen to the audio clip here

The recording calls into question the Indonesian transport ministry's statement that Flight QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea on 28 December with 162 people on board, was flying on an unauthorised schedule, as air traffic control can be heard granting permission for take-off. 

The flight was en route from Surabaya to Singapore early on the morning of Sunday 28 December. 

Indonesia's director general of air transport, Djoko Murjatmodjo, said on Saturday that the plane had taken off at a flight time that had not been cleared by officials. 

Also see: Doomed AirAsia flight schedule unauthorised

However, during the conversation between the doomed flight's captain and air traffic control, no doubts about flight times or schedules seem to surface.

A transcription of part of the conversation was posted onto YouTube, along with the audio recording:

(Note that QZ8501's call sign is Wagon Air8501)

AWQ8501: "Tower, Wagon Air eight five zero one good morning..." 

Tower: "Wagon Air 8501 good morning Juanda Tower, go ahead..." 

AWQ8501: "Eight five zero one (registrasi) alpha x-ray charlie parking stand Alpha Niner (A9) destination Singapore POB (passenger on board) one six one, request push and start, wagon air eight five zero one..." 

Tower: "Wagon Air eight five zero one parking stand number Alpha niner Pushback and start approved heading west runway one zero, exit sierra two... 

Shortly after, at approximately minute 1:12, flight QZ8501 sought approval from ATC to proceed to the runway. ATC directed QZ8501 to runway 10 which the flight was placed on standby.

At 2:43, ATC authorised clearance for takeoff via M635 airways at the height of 24 000-feet."Wagon Air eight five zero one clear to Singapore, mike six three five level two four zero initial, RAMPY one alpha departure squawk number seven zero zero five,” a female voice from the ATC was heard. 

At the 5th minute, a voice believed to be the captain of flight QZ8501 was heard - informing the ATC of its position on the runway at Juanda Airport, the total number of passengers and the purpose to Singapore. 
In the meantime Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has also confirmed that the schedule from its Surabaya counterpart shows the QZ8501 flight on Sunday as authorised.

Despite this the Indonesian transport ministry has frozen AirAsia's permission to fly that route. 
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Biden is going to take it
46% - 6750 votes
It's four more years for Trump
54% - 7861 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo