Spanair plane crashes

The following are significant events involving the airline or its subsidiares. The numbered events are those involving at least one airline passenger death where the aircraft flight had a direct or indirect role, and where at least one of the dead passengers was not a stowaway, hijacker, or saboteur. The airline began operations in 1988 and ceased operations in 2012.

  1. 20 August 2008; Spanair MD82; flight JK5022; Madrid, Spain: The aircraft crashed shortly after attempting a takeoff for a scheduled domestic flight from Madrid to Las Palmas, Spain in the Canary Islands. The aircraft was also operated by Spanair on behalf of an SAS Group member as Lufthansa flight LH2554. The accident investigation concluded that the plane stalled shortly after takeoff after the crew had incorrectly configured the aircraft. The investigation also concluded that the aircraft's takeoff warning system, which would have detected the configuration problem, did not provide a warning signal to the crew. The aircraft crashed into an area next to the runway, broke up, and caught fire. All six crew members on board and 148 of the 166 passengers were killed. Among the passengers were 20 children and two infants.

    Spanair was one of the airlines of the SAS Group, and as a result of that relationship, and because the flight was a codeshare flight conducted on behalf of Lufthansa as flight LH2554, this is a numbered event for Spanair and a significant event for both SAS and Lufthansa.
    MD80 plane crashes
    More about this crash

    About Spanair
    This was the first fatal event for Spanair, which at the time was the second largest of the five airlines in the SAS Group. The airline began operations in 1988. At the end of June 2008, there were 65 aircraft in the Spanair fleet, averaging 13 years old. The fatal event aircraft was built in 1993. The MD80 aircraft began commercial operations in 1980, with the first fatal event in 1981.

Updates for the 20 August 2008 Crash
of Spanair Flight 5022

Preliminary Report from the Spanish Authorities (CIAIAC)

Two Veteran Airline Captains Discuss the Crash of a Spanair MD82

Date: 23 September 2008; Length: 26:17

On August 23rd, 2008, three days after the crash of the Spanair MD82, the podcast featured the insights of two veteran airline captains, Capt. Tom Bunn of the SOAR fear of flying organization, and Capt. Steve Fisher, a pilot who has flown for a major US airline for over two decades.

The two captains provided insights into the mechanics of flying a large jet transport, especially the MD82, and to give the audience an idea of the kind of training and preparation pilots go through to prepare for emergencies during takeoff.

Podcast Link
Audio: MP3

Preliminary Findings: Crash of Spanair MD82

Date: 19 September 2008; Length: 2:17

Dr. Todd Curtis reviews the preliminary findings in the investigation of the 20 August 2008 crash of a Spanair MD82 in Madrid. Spanish investigators reportedly found that the flaps were not properly configured for takeoff and that the crew flap configuration alarm was not activated. A video taken by the Spanish airport authorities also show that there was no indication of a fire or explosion while the aircraft was airborne.

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Additional Podcast Links
Audio: MP3

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Crash of Spanair MD82: Comments from Capt. Patrick Smith

Date: 30 August 2008; Length: 20:30

Two days after the crash of a Spanair MD82 on 20 August 2008, Dr. Todd Curtis of interviewed Patrick Smith, an airline captain with a major US carrier and the author of the book "Ask the Pilot." They discussed several crash-related issues, including the quality of media coverage of the event, and provided some insights into what areas may be important in the ongoing investigation.

Podcast Link
Audio: MP3

Crash of Spanair MD82 on 20 August 2008

Date: 20 August 2008; Length: 2:10

Dr. Todd Curtis discusses the fatal event involving a Spanair MD82 which crashed in Madrid, Spain on 20 August 2008 shortly after taking off on a scheduled domestic flight to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. All six crew members and 148 of the 166 passengers were killed.

Additional Podcast Links
Audio: MP3

VideoWMV |  iPod/MP4 |  YouTube

Transcript of audio and video podcasts

Related Resources
Plane crashes of selected European Airlines
Plane crashes by model
Plane crash rates by model

BBC Illustration of Crash Location

BBC graphic illustrating the location of the crash

Spanair plane crashes -- Revised: 28 January 2017