FlyDubai flights FZ981 crashed in the early hours of Saturday, March 19, killing all 62 people on board. The airplane crashed at Rostov-on-Don, located 950km from Moscow. Officials attributed bad weather as the cause of the crash.
According to The National, 55 passengers and seven crew members were killed. Reports show that only the debris remains as the crash was so severe that it led to the plane exploding.
Eyewitnesses state that the plane exploded into a large ball of flame that was evident from very far. Yana, one of the eye witnesses residing near the airport, told the media that what attracted his attention was the shaking of his house, but when he went out to his yard, he saw the sky painted red due to the explosion of the plane. Most of the debris of the plane are scattered 1.5km away from the crash site.
Aljazeera claims that hurricane-force wind together with rain is responsible for causing the crash. According to a report from Russian state news agency, Tass, says that the winds were so high, blowing up to 20 meters per second at the time. Heavy rains were also evident.
The bad weather and poor visibility made the flight circle the airport for about two hours after trying to make the first landing attempt. The second attempt to land led to the missing of the runway. Most of the passengers killed in the crash were tourists who were returning to their homes after visiting Dubai.
According to TheWeek, flight FZ981’s highly trained and experienced pilots who had 6,000 hours of flight for each of the pilots. The Cypriot pilot has been identified as Aristos Socratous from Limassol, a southern coastal town. Cypriot president, Nicos Anastasiades expressed his shock together with deep sorrow. A report from FlyDubai states that the plane was in good condition since it had undergone an extensive safety check two months before the accident.
There are some speculations that terrorists caused the crash, but this belief has been refuted by Ghaith Al Ghaith, who is the chief executive of the airline. He goes ahead to say that the primary concern of his company is for the crew and passengers. But he has encouraged FlyDubai customers that the company’s good work will still continue.
After the tragic accident of flight FZ981, other flights had to be diverted to Krasnodar Airport, due to the strong wind and heavy rain. The airport is 300 Km south of Rostov-on-Don. Analysts argue that this tragedy will not have a significant negative effect on the company, but there will be some drop in performance in the short-term. It had been evident immediately after the tragedy where booking of the company’s ticket sales dropped.
This tragedy is a shock to the Dubai airline industry, and workers across the globe have been paying tribute to all those killed in the FlyDubai crash. There are also individuals from other parts of the world who have also been paying tribute. It is evident in the social media, where there was a trending hashtag “#unitedbywings”.
Those who are concerned with the tourism industry argue that that crash of the flight FZ981is not expected to affect the industry adversely. Their reason for this is that it’s an isolated incident, and isolated occurrences are not supposed to have a big impact on the tourism industry; this is the case in the long-term. However, other analysts or individuals are not ready to comment on the effect of the tragedy of tourism industry. They believe this can only be done once the cause of the accident is very certain.
A good example of one of these people is Rashid Aboobacker, who is the associate director at TRI Consulting. Many Russian tourists have been traveling to the UAE this year because popular Russian winter destinations, such as Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey have been closed to Russians due to security concerns.