The stocks of Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia Berhad slid down after the controversial disappearance of Singapore-bound flight QZ8501.
Lowest since 2011
Right during the first few minutes of trading in Malaysia last Monday, December 29, stocks of the budget airline sank by as much as 13%. The shares fought the slump a little until the trade went to a close, finally ending at 2.56 ringgit from its initial 3.15 ringgit rate, signaling an 8.2% decrease. Experts said this was the airline’s lowest since 2011.
The decline in shares is seen as part of the domino effect brought about by the incident. Invesco Asset Management investment director Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed said that the flight’s disappearance may “cause some pressure on the stock and demand will fall.”
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes spoke about the crisis on microblogging platform Twitter. Under the Twitter handle @tonyfernandes, the CEO called the incident his “worse (sic) nightmare.” He promised continuous action coming from the company. In another tweet, Fernandes said, “We will do whatever we can. We continue to pass information a[s] it comes.”
This is AirAsia’s first major crisis for over a decade. Accident data tracking website AviationSafetyNetwork notes no fatal crash in the company’s track record. AirAsia is also the region’s largest budget airline.
Flight QZ8501 is a local flight that took off from the Indonesian city of Surabaya at 5:35 AM (Java time) on Sunday, December 28. The plane was scheduled to reach Singapore within less than three hours after takeoff at 8:30 AM.
While en route to Singapore, the pilot radioed for permission to ascent to 38,000 ft to avoid the storm clouds along the way. The transmission, which was sent at 6:24 AM, was the last point of contact with the said flight.
AirAsia released a statement on the statistics of the passengers aboard the plane. Most of the passengers were Indonesian, although there were also three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, and one United Kingdom national. Of the 155 recorded passengers, there were 17 children and an infant. The plane also carried seven crew members; six of which were Indonesian while the other one was French.
Details from the airline’s statements revealed that the pilot had flown for over 20,537 hours, 6,035 of which were spent under AirAsia Indonesia’s employ. Meanwhile, the first officer had a record of 2,247 flying hours.
As of posting, search efforts for flight QZ8501 remain in progress with four countries joining forces to look for the missing Airbus A320 aircraft.