The disappearance of AirAsia flight QZ8501 may be a tragedy but Prime Minister Tony Abbott doesn't believe it's a mystery or an atrocity.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane in bad weather on Sunday on its way from Surabaya, east Java to Singapore.
"This is not a mystery like the MH370 disappearance and it's not an atrocity like the MH17 shooting down," Mr Abbott told Macquarie Radio on Monday, referring to the two Malaysia Airlines planes that crashed earlier in the year.
"It's an aircraft that was flying a regular route on a regular schedule, it struck what appears to have been horrific weather and it's downed."
Nevertheless, aviation experts would be "putting their heads together to come up with the most effective way of ensuring that we don't just lose planes", the prime minister said.
Australia has sent an RAAF P3 Orion fitted with sophisticated search equipment to join international efforts to find the plane.
The government has also offered Indonesia - whose citizens made up the vast majority of passengers - any further support needed with the search, rescue and investigation.
Mr Abbott said Australia's offer of practical assistance continued a long friendship with Indonesia.
He spoke with Indonesian president Joko Widodo overnight and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has similarly been in touch with her counterpart.
Ms Bishop says hopes are fading of finding the plane and the 162 people on board.
"Whilst we hope for the best, as time goes on I'm afraid our fears may be confirmed," Ms Bishop told ABC TV on Monday.
"Our thoughts and prayers and hopes are with the passengers and the crew and our thoughts are most certainly with their families and relatives."
There were no Australian citizens on board, but authorities are still checking the flight manifest for any dual nationals or permanent residents.
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