The aircraft was “wet leased” by Air Algerie from Swiftair [a Spanish airline company]. The last contact that Algerian authorities had with the missing plane was when it was flying over Gao, Mali. The search is under way. Aviation authorities are mobilized in all the countries concerned – Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria and even Spain. French fighter jets based in the region have been dispatched to try to locate the missing plane, French army spokesman Gilles Jaron has said. Flight AH5017 planned over Malian territory. There is no suggestion that the aircraft could have been specifically targeted by anti-French Islamist forces from the ground. Air traffic control asked to change route because of a storm. (The north of Mali was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight). It was routed over territory that was in the hands of al-Qaeda’s affiliates in northern Mali until France intervened to push them out in 2013. This is currently considered a “high risk” flight zone by US airlines. Unverified information presented at Chinese television reported that the plane has crashed in Niger.