TOULOUSE, France, 24 March 2015.Airbus officials today confirmed that an A320 short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliner operated by Germanwings, a German low-cost airline based in Cologne that is wholly owned by Lufthansa, was involved in an accident around 11:00 a.m. (local time) near Prads-Haute-Bléone in the French Alps. The aircraft was operating a scheduled service, Flight 4U 9525, from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany.
Six crew members and 144 passengers onboard are feared dead. Plane debris has been located in the snowy French Alps.
Germanwings officials also have confirmed the airline’s flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed in the French Alps with 144 passengers and six crew members on board.
“We must confirm to our deepest regret that Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf has suffered an accident over the French Alps. The flight was being operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft, and was carrying 144 passengers and six crew members,” Deutsche Lufthansa AG officials say.
The aircraft involved in the accident, registered under D-AIPX was MSN (Manufacturer Serial Number) 147 delivered to Lufthansa from the production line in 1991. The aircraft had accumulated approximately 58,300 flight hours in some 46,700 flights. It was powered by CFM 56-5A1 engines.
In line with ICAO annex 13, an Airbus go-team of technical advisors will be dispatched to provide full assistance to French BEA in charge of the investigation.
Pilots issued a distress call at 0947 GMT (0547 ET), roughly 52 minutes after take-off, officials say. Unofficial tracking data suggests the aircraft made a sharp descent from its cruising height of 35,000 feet; however, the aircraft did not appear to have plummeted as though complete control had been lost. The A320’s black boxes, yet to be recovered, likely hold the answers, safety officials affirm.
The A320 is a twin-engine, single-aisle aircraft seating 150 passengers in a standard two classes configuration. The first A320 entered service in March 1988. By the end of February 2015, nearly 6,200 A320 Family aircraft were in operation worldwide. To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 150 million flight hours in over 85 million flights.
Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities for release.