Sorbis /

It may seem like someone put a terrible hex on Malaysian airlines in 2014, but AirAsia Flight 8501 wasn’t just another ill-fated Malaysian airplane. For one thing, it wasn’t even Malaysian.

The flight, which crashed Sunday carrying 155 passengers, was operated by Indonesia AirAsia, a sister company of AirAsia.

In total, 10 companies use the AirAsia brand. The umbrella company, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pioneered cheap flights in Asia, and is known for value and convenience. Think of it like the JetBlue or Virgin America of Asian airlines.

AirAsia began operations 1996. It has had three accidents since then. This is the first time anyone has died from an AirAsia or affiliate crash. Sadly, all passengers and crew are feared dead. The cause of the disaster is not at this time known.

2014 is shaping up as the deadliest year in air travel since 2005, though many of the fatalities can be attributed to only three flights: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March, this AirAsia Indonesia flight, and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over the Ukraine-Russia border.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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