Fatal Flight

For Lufthansa, Airbus, Plunging Prospects

flight haltern am see dpa
A press conference Wednesday at the school in Haltern am See in northwest Germany which lost 16 students in the crash of a Germanwings flight on Tuesday in the French Alps.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The crash of Lufthansa’s 4U 9525 flight comes at a difficult time for the airline, and could affect the confidence of its passengers and staff.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Lufthansa’s Germanwings flight 4U9525 crashed in the French Alps on Wednesday, killing all 150 people on board.
    • The cause of the crash is still unclear, one black box has been found.
    • Lufthansa and Airbus shares fell sharply in the hours after the accident but later rallied.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Little is left of the Airbus 320 plane, which crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning. The cause of the tragedy, which killed all 150 people on board, including 16 children of a German school, is still unclear.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that “according to the latest information there is no hard evidence that the crash was intentionally brought about by third parties,” but said investigators were still studying all possible causes.

It is the worst accident ever for Lufthansa since it was founded in 1926 and comes at a difficult time for Europe’s largest airline group, which includes the budget brands Germanwings and Eurowings and Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

Lufthansa, led by former pilot and engineer Carsten Spohr since May last year, has been struggling with high costs for its main brand Lufthansa and striking pilots. Lufhansa’s 2014 net profit fell by 82 percent to €55 million on sales of €30 billion.

The crash could further hit passenger confidence in the company.

Germanwings had to cancel flights on Tuesday and Wednesday because some crew members refused to fly in the wake of the accident.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said Tuesday evening that he understood the crew members’ sentiments.

“One must not forget: many of our Germanwings crews have known crew members who were onboard the crashed plane,” Spohr said.

“We will get back to a full flight operation as soon as possible. But for me, this is rather secondary now,” he added.

The company’s reputation for reliability has already been dented by industrial strife: pilots have held 13 strikes since April last year. The last one came last week.

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