Lufthansa (Frankfurt), in the wake of the tragic crash of Germanwings (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn) flight 4U 9225 in the French Alps, is facing some tough decisions on the future of its low-cost subsidiaries. Before the crash, Lufthansa was planning to gradually phase out the Germanwings brand and shift a number of routes to the new Eurowings (Dusseldorf) low-cost brand.
According to Airline Route, on October 25, 2015, a total of 55 Germanwings routes (and the 4U code) operating from Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf and Hamburg were due to be transferred to Eurowings and the EW code.
The Germanwings brand was expected to be gradually phased out with no end date specified. However with this tragic loss and the now apparent criminal act, will Lufthansa close out the tarnished Germanwings brand sooner?
Lufthansa has touted the success of its low-cost subsidiaries. Is this strategy now in jeopardy with the tragic loss of Germanwings flight 4U 9225?
Germanwings (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn) flight 4U 9525 with 144 passengers (including two infants) and six crew members on board (numbers updated) has crashed in the rugged French Alps (near Digne-les-Bains and the Grenoble Airport) at approximately 6,500 fleet and around 1037 local time. The pictured Airbus A320-211 D-AIPX (msn 147) was being operated on the flight between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. The flight had descended 14,000 feet in six minutes. No distress call was sent by the crew (correcting previous statements by the media). French radar contact was then lost at 1053. The airliner apparently slammed into the mountain according to flight tracking services.
Debris has been cited by a helicopter in the mountainous terrain and survivors are “not likely”. Human remains are tragically scattered over the crash site. The debris field is contained in about four acres and there is no piece larger than a car. It is difficult to get to the remote crash scene and retrieve the bodies and parts of D-AIPX. The flight data recorder has been sighted in the debris.
Lufthansa stated on Twitter (the two logos have changed to black in respect for the dead):
“…on 4U 9525. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors.“ Carsten Spohr 2/2
Lufthansa later issued this statement:
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.
Lufthansa and Germanwings have established a telephone hotline. The toll-free 00800 11 33 55 77 number is available to all the families of the passengers involved for care and assistance.
Everyone at Germanwings and Lufthansa is deeply shocked and saddened by these events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew members.
According to CNN:
A Germanwings Airbus A320 plane crashed Tuesday in the foothills of the Alps in southeastern France, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters.
Valls said he fears those aboard the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany — 142 passengers and six crew members — may be dead. A short time later, Germanwings executives said that there were at least 150 people aboard, 144 of whom were passengers.
French President Francois Hollande also said no survivors were expected. The plane crashed near Digne-les-Bains, in the Alpes de Haute Provence region, Valls said.
“The conditions of the accident are not yet clear but lead us to believe there will be no survivors,” Hollande said.
Spanish King Felipe VI said there was a “high number of Spaniards, Germans and Turks” on the doomed Germanwings flight.
Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s Prime Minister, tweeted that he will return to Madrid, put together a “crisis team” and send a minister to France.
We will continue to update as news is received. Updated 1235 EDT.
Top Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Ill-fated Airbus A320-211 D-AIPX (msn 147) departs from Tenerife Sur before the tragic crash in the French Alps. The airliner was originally delivered new to Lufthansa February 5, 1991.