There were two pilots, four flight attendants, and one engineer on board the airbus along with 155 passengers. Among the passenger were 138 adults, 16 children, and one infant.
The plane was carrying 155 Indonesians, along with three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one passenger from the United Kingdom, and one French crew member.
The airline said in a statement: “AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 (Surabaya local time) this morning. The flight took off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 0535hours.”
AirAsia said the missing aircraft is an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC.
The company said the captain in command of the aircraft had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer a total of 2,275 flying hours.
The airline added: “At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of The Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority. AirAsia Indonesia is cooperating fully and assisting the investigation in every possible way.
“The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to en route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of Indonesian Air Traffic Control.”
AirAsia also stated that the aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance on November 16, 2014.
The CEO of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes, said on twitter: Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We must stay strong.”
Local media are quoting transport ministry official, Hadi Mustofa, who is reported to have said the plane was believed to be over the Java Sea, which lies between Surabaya and Singapore, when contact was lost.
AirAsia Indonesia is 49 percent owned by the popular Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia, with local investors holding the rest. The AirAsia group, including affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India, has not had a crash since its operations began in 2002.
Malaysia has already suffered two air tragedies this year. No trace has yet been found of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was then shot down over Ukraine on July 17, and it is still not clear who was responsible.
AirAsia has established an emergency call centre for the relatives or friends of those on board the aircraft. Telephone: 00622129850801