Not a lot.
It’s a tragedy on a scale Western Europe hasn’t seen for years. It was the sort of accident we thought we’d seen the last of in this part of the world.
But Boeing MD-80 series aircraft crashed fatally twice last year: once in September at Phuket killing 90 people, and the other at Isparta, Turkey in November killing 56.
Among aircraft of its design period it has a safety record which does not differ significantly from its peer airliners, but there is no doubt that it cannot match the safety record of the succeeding generations of narrobody, notably the Airbus A320 series and the Next Generation Boeing 737 series. Aircraft and flightdeck design have moved on, and the MD-80 series and its successor - the MD-90 later designated the Boeing 717 – have been out of production since 2006. The aircraft that crashed had been in service 15 years – not a long time for a jet airliner.
Referring to this accident, it occurred in daylight and good weather. The aeroplane was full or nearly so, and would have been heavy. Although that may turn out to have been a factor in the accident it would not have been the cause.
There is much talk of a No 1 (left) engine fire, but no official source has confirmed it. If a single engine power loss and engine fire were all that had occurred, the pilots would have been able to control the aircraft, so the investigators will be looking for more than that. They will also be looking for why the aircraft caught fire so fast and so completely that only a few passengers were able to survive.
If the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have survived the fire, and yield good data, we will have information very soon. But the early information is likely only to be a series of facts. Using the data from the boxes, what happened in the accident is normally fairly easy to establish; why it happened will take longer.
Here is my video analysis of how the investigation such as this usually develops: