Flydubai Boeing 737 FZ981 crashes on approach to Rostov On Don

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Flydubai Boeing 737 FZ981 crashes on approach to Rostov On Don

A Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by flydubai crash landed on approach to Russia’s Rostov-on-Don airport, early morning on 19th March 2016. The incident occurred between 0040 UTC and 0050 UTC.

The aircraft was operating as FZ981 – a scheduled flight from Dubai, UAE to Rostov-on-Don.

The airline confirmed that there were 55 passengers on board, all who perished as a result of the crash. Other reports indicate there were 7 crew members on the flight.

Crash scene images (copyright: APA)



Location of Rostov-on-Don, depicting a great circle path from Dubai.

Location of Rostov-on-Don, depicting a great circle path from Dubai. Source – Great Circle Mapper

The flight was being operated by A6-FDN, an aircraft delivered in 2011. flydubai is a low cost airline owned by the State of Dubai, in UAE. This is the first crash involving the airline.

Public ADS-B data from Flightradar24 shows that the aircraft had aborted its initial landing and had been on a holding pattern for nearly two hours, due to bad weather. The crash occurred on its second attempt to land.

A regular flight between Dubai (DXB) and Rostov-on-Don (ROV) takes just over 4 hours. However the incident flight had been in the air for almost 6 hours, due to the unusual holding involved. The aircraft however, reportedly had fuel for nearly 8.5 hours – including contingency – as flydubai follows a fuel tankering strategy (like many other airlines), where an airline would uplift more fuel from a station with lower fuel prices to reduce costs.

Flight path of FZ981

Flight path of FZ981 – Source: Flightradar24

Unconfirmed CCTV footage of the crash:

Whilst unconfirmed, the surroundings shown in the CCTV video seem to match with airpot surroundings seen in this Google Maps Street View image.

Unconfirmed ATC recording of the flight, minutes prior to crash:

The visibility just prior to the crash was 6km, with scattered clouds, light showers and heavy wind. However, the situation could have changed swiftly in the minutes leading up to the approach.

METAR at the time of FZ981 crash

METAR at the time of FZ981 crash. Source – Flightradar24

While there could have been several reasons for a crash of this nature to occur, the data known by the public at this moment is very limited and we would urge you to refrain from making any speculations that could unnecessarily hurt the families of those affected or impact the investigation.


This post is being published as a public service, and does not represent the opinion or views of my employer or any other party.

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