News has emerged that another AirAsia airbus got into difficulties shortly after taking off this morning and was forced to abort its journey.
An AirAsia Berhad Penang-to-Langkawi flight – AK6242 – returned to Penang, Malaysia, after the plane developed "technical difficulties".
According to the New Straits Times, the pilot of the Malaysian flight turned the plane around shortly after the journey began.
AirAsia Berhad is a separate entity to AirAsia Indonesia, but they are both part of the AirAsia Group of travel companies and airlines.
AirAsia flight QZ8501 went missing whilst travelling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. The airbus lost contact with air traffic control at 7:24am local time (12.24am GMT), 42 minutes after taking off from Juanda International Airport in East Java.
Two pilots, four flight attendants and an engineer were on board as well as 155 passengers: 138 adults, 16 children and an infant.
Indonesian nationals made up 155 of the passengers, whilst three South Koreans, a Malaysian and a French national, and a British national – a father accompanying his two-year-old Singaporean daughter – are also believed to have been informed
The New Straits Times reported that a Royal Malaysian Air Force C130 Hercules and three navy vessels have been searching an area in the Java Sea, Borneo.
However, search operations were suspended due to poor visibility after night fell. They are expected to resume in the morning.
Early unconfirmed reports of wreckage being spotted have been denied by Indonesian government officials and search-and-rescue specialists.
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, announced that Australia has sent a P3 Orion surveillance aircraft to help support with the rescue operation.
India has put three of their ships and a P-81 surveillance aircraft on standby.