"The plane has lost contact at 06:17 a.m local time," the Indonesian transportation ministrys Acting Director General for Air Transportation Affairs Djoko Murdjatmojo said here on Sunday.
He remarked that the plane departed from Surabayas Juanda airport at 05:36 Western Indonesian Standard Time (WIB) to Singapore. The AirAsia Airbus A320-200 followed the flight path that has previously been defined.
At 6:12 a.m local time, the plane was still traceable in air traffic control tower of Soekarno Hatta Airport at a height of 38,000 feet.
Then, at 6:16 a.m local time, the aircraft was still tracked on radar. He said that Captain Iriyanto asked permission to raise the height due to bad weather.
Djoko remarked that the aircraft disappeared from radar observations at 6:18 a.m local time. At that time, air traffic control officer monitored the presence of the plane, but the aircraft has lost contact at 7:55 a.m local time.
Djoko affirmed that the plane has lost contact and did not crash.
Previously, the Indonesian Air Forces Boeing 737 Surveiller has joined the search operation for finding the AirAsia aircraft that lost contact with air traffic control tower in its flight from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday morning.
"We are going to comb the missing aircrafts flight route," Indonesian Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjahjanto was quoted by Antara as saying in his special interview with a private TV station here Sunday.
The Boeing 737 Surveiller had been dispatched to comb the areas where the flight QZ 8501 might have its last contact with Jakartas air traffic control tower, he said.
For the purpose of this search mission, a command post has respectively been set up at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java; Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta and at Supadio Airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, he said.
Hadi Tjahjanto said the Indonesian Air Force would work closely with those from the National Search and Rescue Agency in finding the missing jet reportedly carrying 155 passengers, including 16 children and an infant, as well as two pilots, one technician and four crew members, aboard.