Yesterday, we reported an incident which recently took place at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport involving a flydubai operated Boeing 737 aircraft. According to the Aviation Herald, on the morning of the 2nd December, the pilots of flydubai flight FZ918 had attempted to take off without first receiving permission from the airport’s control tower. Allegedly, the pilots were forced to abandon takeoff after receiving orders from an air traffic controller and then returned to stand where they were interviewed by the authorities.
In a statement provided at the time, a spokesperson for flydubai denied this version of events. The pilots had never attempted to take off without permission and had instead returned to the terminal so that the aircraft could be de-iced and refuelled the airline explained.
The original news of the incident was reported by Russia’s Interfax news agency who quoted an unnamed official at Moscow’s air traffic control services. Translated from Russian into English, the source told Interfax: “the commander of the Boeing 737 aircraft of the FlyDubai airline unauthorized, began to disperse along the Sheremetyevo runway without the permission of the dispatchers.”
The source continued: “The plane in an emergency mode stopped taking off and returned to the parking lot. The flight was delayed for three hours while the crew was under investigation.”
While the exact circumstances are clearly unknown at this point, we questioned if so-called “human factors” could have played a part in this incident. In particular, whether pilot fatigue may have been involved – especially in light of a number of recent incidents involving different airlines where fatigue has been cited as a contributing factor.
In this case, however, flydubai strenuously denies that fatigue would have played a part in the FZ918 incident. In an email exchange, a spokesperson for flydubai has told us the “crew were not fatigued”. In fact, they have received over 23 hours rest before returning to duty in order to operate the flight back to Dubai.
flydubai also told us that the airline follows strict rules on ‘Flight Time Limitations’ and that the airline operates to the highest international standards.
As it stands, an investigation is still underway and as such its far too early to determine what the cause of the incident was – or for that matter, whether an incident even occurred in the first place. Once we receive more information, we’ll update this article.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.