The fatal 2016 airplane crash of a flydubai jet in Russia was caused by a pilot error in bad weather, Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee said in a report published on Tuesday.
The conclusive document said the accident was formally classified as an incident caused by the "Loss of Control In-Flight occurrence." It also attributed it to "possible crew disorientation during bad weather at night" and "an incorrect aircraft configuration and crew piloting."
Flight FZ 981 was en-route from Dubai to Russia when it crashed at Rostov-on-Don airport, south of the country. The Boeing737-8KN aircraft model had circled around the airport for over two hours before crashing while on its second attempt to land in high winds.
Upon impact with the ground, the aircraft erupted in flames about 250 meters away from the runway. All 62 people on board (55 passengers and seven crew) were killed in the tragic incident on March 19, 2016.
The report explained that the plane's crew could have been suffering from "possible operational tiredness" at the time of the crash and was therefore unable to handle the distressful situation.
In a statement that came in response to the report, flydubai's Chief Executive Officer Ghaith Al Ghaith acknowledged the investigation's findings. He thanked Russian authorities for their efforts and explained that the carrier had fully collaborated with investigators throughout the process.
"During the official investigation, while observing ICAO's Annex 13 protocols, flydubai appointed a number of subject matter experts to conduct a thorough internal investigation of the factual data as well as to provide substantive responses to the Investigator In Charge," Al Ghaith said.
"In accidents involving human factors, it is important to exhaust all possible scenarios when interpreting the factual data. It is the priority of the industry to understand all possible factors contributing to such a tragic accident and ensure critical insights that can make aviation safer are shared," he added.
flydubai has taken several measures since the crash
Al Ghaith stressed that the airline took several measures in the wake of the plane crash. He explained that the company's main priorities "have been to support the bereaved families, to conduct a thorough review of our internal processes and systems, and to support the work of the investigator in-charge."
The executive said the budget carrier remains mainly focused on the pursuit of safety enhancements through all their operations.
"At the time of the accident, flydubai was fully compliant with all regulatory requirements. Following a thorough review of the Interim Report, the Draft Final Report and flydubai's own internal investigation, the airline has, in conjunction with our regulator, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) taken a number of precautionary measures prior to the publication of the Final Report," he added.
The airline also stated that it is working towards offering compensation to those impacted by the accident and has already settled claims filed by those who lost loved ones.