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March 29, 2015

Officials say co-pilot intentionally crashed Germanwings Airbus

Officials say co-pilot intentionally crashed Germanwings Airbus

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

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Germanwings D-AIPX, the aircraft involved in the incident, taking off

Image: Sebastien Mortier

Officials said on Thursday, after analyzing data from the Germanwings Flight 9525 cockpit voice recorder, that the airbus crashed into the French Alps because its co-pilot deliberately crashed it.

On the cockpit voice recorder, the captain can be heard trying to get back into the cockpit. Transponder data indicates the autopilot was told to descend form 38,000 feet to 100 feet. The last part of the recording contains screaming during the sudden decent.

Investigators are still searching for the plane’s flight data recorder.

The co-pilot started training in 2008, and was diagnosed in 2009 with serious depression according to BBC News. Later he completed his training and passed all his tests to pilot, according to Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr.

In light of this incident, several airlines announced a ban on leaving any one person alone in the cockpit.

The flight path and altitude chart can be seen in the images below.


4U9525 flight path

4U9525 flight path

Image: Andrew Heneen

4U9525 flight path

4U9525 flight path

Image: Kopiersperre

Altitude Chart for Flight 4U9525 register D-AIPX

Altitude Chart for Flight 4U9525 register D-AIPX

Image: Lämpel



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March 25, 2015

Germanwings Flight 9525 crashes into French Alps, 150 on board

Germanwings Flight 9525 crashes into French Alps, 150 on board

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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  • 22 May 2015: Germanwings crash victims identified
  • 9 May 2015: Copilot practiced putting plane into controlled descent prior to crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, French authorities say
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D-AIPX taking off from Barcelona Airport in May 2014.
Image: Sebastian Mortier.

Germanwings Flight 9525, an Airbus A320 carrying 150 passengers and crew, crashed into the French Alps yesterday between Digne and Barcelonnette. Officials said there were no survivors. The plane was flying to Duesseldorf, Germany from Barcelona, Spain. An emergency recovery team made its way to the crash site and reportedly recovered one of the plane’s flight recorders.

According to French authorities, 144 passengers were aboard the plane, reportedly including sixteen school children who were travelling on a German exchange project. A further six crew were present, including the two pilots. The flight was predominately made up of Spanish and German citizens.

The pilots did not send a distress signal. Various officials described the crash as an accident; the White House stated terrorism is not believed to be a factor. The weather reportedly was clear when the crash occurred. The plane descended for eight minutes before impact falling, by various reports, more than 30,000 feet.

French President François Hollande said regarding the accident “I would like to send all our solidarity to the family of the victims[…] It’s a new air tragedy; we must know all the causes. We are in mourning because this accident happened on our territory”. He said he has been in contact with both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and King Felipe VI of Spain, the later of whom cancelled the remainder of his state visit to France.

According to French prosecutor Bruce Robin the plane was completely destroyed. He said “The body of the plane is in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage”. He made the comments to Reuters news agency describing his view of the crash site from a helicopter.

Germanwings is owned by Lufthansa. CEO of Lufthansa Carsten Spohr said “We do not yet know what has happened to flight 4U 9525. My deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of our passengers and crew on 4U 9525. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors.”

The plane, registered as D-AIPX, had been in service for nearly 25 years. It first flew on November 29, 1990 and had been last checked earlier this month.


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March 31, 2012

European Commission clears British Airways owner IAG to buy bmi from Lufthansa

European Commission clears British Airways owner IAG to buy bmi from Lufthansa

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

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The European Commission (EC) has approved yesterday a takeover of loss-making UK airline bmi from Lufthansa by International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways (BA). IAG will have to make concessions after Virgin Atlantic told the EC the deal would be anti-competitive.

A bmi Boeing 737 at Edinburgh Airport. Rival Virgin had claimed the sale would give BA excessive dominance in Scotland.

The deal is set to cost IAG, who also own Iberia, £172.5 million. That value could fall as budget subsidiary bmibaby may be retained by Lufthansa or sold elsewhere, and IAG are reported to be primarily interested in the main bmi business. A regional subsidiary also exists.

IAG intends to use acquired slots at the busy Heathrow Airport, which serves London, to expand their own routes into Asia. The EC required IAG to surrender a number of flight slots at the airport. The slots surrendered or made available for lease are for use to destinations in Scotland, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. The EC also insisted that combined BA/bmi routing be made available for competitors to buy transfer seats upon.

Lufthansa intended to shut down bmi had the bid failed. The transaction is presently scheduled for completion April 20.

IAG boss Willie Walsh called the sale “great news for Britain” with results that are “good for UK business and UK consumers.” Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson had previously said the move would give BA excessive dominance on Scottish flights. More Heathrow slots earmarked for Scotland have been given up than any other destination.

Ryanair took the opportunity to claim only their own takeover bid for Aer Lingus has been a major EC casualty. “Today’s rubber-stamping of BA’s purchase of bmi shows yet again that the EC has one rule for Europe’s flag-carriers, but different rules for Ryanair”, said Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary.



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April 19, 2010

Half of Europe\’s flights could take off Monday, EU says

Half of Europe’s flights could take off Monday, EU says

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Monday, April 19, 2010

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Approximate depicition of the ash cloud at 18:00 UTC on 19 April 2010. The current forecasts were updated at the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre’s website (Met Office, UK).

Approximate depiction of the ash cloud at 18:00 UTC on 17 April 2010. The current forecasts are updated at the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre’s website (Met Office, UK).

Closed airspace (red) and partially closed airspace (orange) on 18 April 2010. Iceland’s airspace remained relatively unaffected.

The European Union presidency says that air traffic over Europe could return to about 50 percent of its normal level on Monday, if weather forecasts confirm that skies over the continent are clearing of volcanic ash.

European transportation ministers from countries affected by the ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland began spewing into the sky last week will meet on Monday by video conference in an effort to reopen closed airspace.

The volcanic ash has brought chaos to the region — canceling most trans-Atlantic and European flights and leaving thousands of airline passengers stranded for days, as well as disrupting commerce.

European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas says Europe has never experienced a transportation disruption like this and that officials need to take action to get things moving again. “This is clear also, that this is not sustainable. So we cannot go ahead and just wait until the ash cloud will disappear,” he said.

Kallas says Monday’s meeting will try to find a technological solution to the flight disruption, but he stressed that safety considerations will come first. “It is clear that safety is our first and utmost priority, so we cannot compromise with safety. But we are working based on new evidence about test flights, how to assess the situation and how to find solutions to increase air space without compromising safety,” he said.

Spanish Secretary of State for E.U. Affairs Diego López Garrido says the ash cloud over Europe is moving to the northeast, which could clear half of the air space over the continent. “Probably there will be half of the European Union territory influenced by this ash cloud. And from this perspective, the forecast is that there will be half of the flights possibly operating in Europe,” he said.

But the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands say their airspace will remain closed for much of Monday. However, Air travel in Southern Europe — including Spain, southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey — remains open.

Meteorologists say conditions over Europe were unstable on Sunday and that shifting winds made air travel dangerous. They also note that the irregular eruptions from the Icelandic volcano, which continues to spew ash into the sky, is adding to the unpredictability of the situation.

One expert, Guy Gratton, who is head of the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements at Cranfield University in the UK, took a flight on Thursday and noted “It’s still quite a complex mixture of clear air and very worrying but invisible volcanic ash at all sorts of heights.”

Some of his colleagues made a flight on Sunday and noticed in certain locations, “quite high concentrations of ash.” Gratton added, “I suspect it’s going to be a few days yet before it’s safe to fly.” Volcanic ash consists of rock, glass and other particles that can stall aircraft engines.

KLM said it flew four planes in a normal pattern above 3,000 meters from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf on Sunday. The airline’s pilots said they did not encounter residue from the ash cloud and that jetliners were not damaged. Lufthansa flew 10 empty planes from Frankfurt to Munich on Saturday without incident, and Air France flew several successful test flights. British Airways also flew a test flight.

Some aviation officials have criticized the airline shutdowns, arguing that they were based solely on computer models. Air Berlin chief Joachim Hunold was quoted on Sunday by German media as saying that no one has yet sent weather balloons into the atmosphere to collect data on the volcanic ash.

Analysts say airlines are losing about $200 million a day because of the European and trans-Atlantic shutdowns.

The last major disruption to European aviation followed the September 11 attacks on the United States almost a decade ago. U.S. airspace was closed for three days and European airlines canceled all trans-Atlantic flights.

Meanwhile, the British government is considering the possibility of sending in the Royal Navy to help ferry the stranded. Currently, officials are seeing what military and commercial vessels are possibly available to be deployed.

The volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, in southeastern Iceland began erupting on Wednesday, for the second time in a month, after being dormant for nearly 200 years.



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Air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption
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February 22, 2010

Lufthansa pilots begin strike

Lufthansa pilots begin strike – Wikinews, the free news source

Lufthansa pilots begin strike

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Logo of Lufthansa.

The pilots’ union of German airline Lufthansa have begun, and then suspended, a four-day strike over pay and job security. Operations at subsidiary airlines Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings were also affected by the strike, but operations have returned to normal.

The strike began at midnight on Monday (18:00 Sunday EST) after negotiations between the airline and union, Vereinigung Cockpit, over the weekend failed to resolve the threat. According to the union, the strike was over reduced flying time for the pilots, triggered by Lufthansa’s recent acquisition of several smaller airlines, which the union says is causing traffic to be diverted from union-operated routes. Additionally, the union was seeking a pay increase of 6.4% and guarantees that German labor conditions would apply to Lufthansa crews from abroad, which would reduce the incentive for outsourcing to foreign crews. In a statement issued by Lufthansa, however, the airline said that the union also demanded a greater say in the operation of the airline, which Lufthansa was unwilling to agree to.

On Monday, less than 24 hours after it began, the union suspended the strike, agreeing to resume negotiations. A spokesman for the union said Lufthansa and the union had reached an agreement after a hearing at a Frankfurt court, where Lufthansa had filed an injunction against the union, calling the strike “disproportionate.” The strike is to be officially lifted at midnight Monday, although it’s unclear when operations will return to normal. While not ruling out future action, the union agreed not to strike again until at least March 9.

The strike has impacted around 10,000 passengers worldwide in the one day it was in place, with about half of Lufthansa’s flights being cancelled. The airline attempted to accommodate the disruptions by arranging alternative travel for passengers; train travel for domestic travelers, and booking travel on other airlines for international passengers.



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February 12, 2010

Reports issued after jets collided twice in same spot at UK airport

Reports issued after jets collided twice in same spot at UK airport

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Friday, February 12, 2010

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The United Kingdom’s Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) has issued two reports today into collisions between jetliners in the same spot at Manchester Airport. None of the 468 passengers caught in the incidents, which were in separate years, were injured.

The first report concerned an incident in 2007 in which a Pakistan International Airways Boeing 777 struck a Flybe Bombardier Q400. The 777 was trying to turn in behind the Q400 onto the taxiway when its wingtip struck the smaller aircraft’s rudder.

The 777’s pilot had been “cautioned about the presence” of Flybe’s plane, according to the AAIB. The pilot stated that he believed he had sufficient room to manoeuvre and that he expected a further warning were this not the case. The aircraft were later able to continue on their journeys.

The second report issued today involves the exact same location, this time scene of a collision in 2008. A Boeing 737 operated by now-defunct Spanish airline Futura was instructed to “give way”; this confused the flight crew of the Tenerife-bound plane and it moved forward, one wingtip striking the tail of a Lufthansa Airlines Airbus A320 destined for Frankfurt.

The Futura flight crew had believed they had an unobstructed path with plenty of space to clear the A320. The AAIB recommended that Manchester’s air traffic controllers stop using the phrase “give way” and instead state “hold position”. Procedures have already been changed at Manchester in light of the collisions.



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December 27, 2009

German jet bound for US searched in Iceland after suitcase loaded without owner

German jet bound for US searched in Iceland after suitcase loaded without owner

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

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  • 22 May 2015: Germanwings crash victims identified
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Lufthansa jets in Frankfurt

A bomb squad searched a jetliner belonging to German flag carrier Lufthansa after it was found that the owner of a suitcase in the hold was not on the flight. The Airbus A330 diverted to Iceland but was later able to continue to the US.

The 160 people on board remained so while the luggage was inspected in Reykjavik. It was found that there were no security risks in the suitcase concerned. “It seems the passenger in question somehow missed the plane after having checked in,” explained Fridthor Eydal of Keflavik International Airport, which serves Reykjavik.

The flight from Frankfurt then completed its trip to Detroit. It is unclear how the aircraft was able to leave with a bag that had no owner. Detroit was the location of an attack attempt on Friday in which a man attempted to light a bomb as the plane carrying him approached the airport. A Lufthansa spokesman described yesterday’s incident as, “an unfortunate coincidence.”



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May 10, 2008

Ex-head of Qantas freight operations in US jailed for price fixing

Ex-head of Qantas freight operations in US jailed for price fixing

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Qantas Airbus A330 in Singapore

Bruce McCaffrey, who was formerly the vice-president in charge of freight operations in the United States for Australian flag carrier Qantas, has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment and fined US$21,000 by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for his involvement in a major air cargo price fixing cartel.

McCaffrey is one of six past and present employees of the airline who have been charged over the arrangement, which is thought to have run for six years starting in 2000. He is also the first individual to be sentenced regarding the cartel. He, as well as Stephen Cleary, group general manager for freight in Sydney, Harold Pang, general manager for freight sales in Singapore, Peter Frampton, former group general manager for freight, John Cooper former general manager for freight sales and Desmond Church, a former freight employee, were all charged after being exempt from immunity granted in a plea bargain by Qantas in which the airline paid a US$61 million fine.

In Australia price fixing is not actually a criminal offense, so former head of freight Peter Frampton and three other staff members in Australia will not be extradited to face charges. Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking admittances of guilt from airlines whose operations fall under its jurisdiction in exchange for lighter penalties. Qantas is amongst those airlines.

The cartel, which prevented competition in air freight shipments rates, is said to involve almost thirty airlines. As well as Qantas, Japan Airlines, British Airways, Korean Air and Lufthansa have all had their involvement confirmed. Whistleblower Lufthansa, a German airline, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for exposing the operation. In August, British Airways and Korean Air pled guilty to their involvement and received fines of US$300 million each. Last month Japan Airlines also admitted to their role and paid a US$110 million fine. Amongst the others alleged to be involved are Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Hundreds of Australian businesses are involved in a class action suit against these seven airlines for AU$200 million that they believe was unfairly charged to them as a result of criminal activity.

McCarthy, who ran Qantas’s Australia-US cargo route for twenty years, entered a plea bargain with the authorities. Under the US Sherman Act he could have faced up to a US$1.06 million fine and up to 10 years imprisonment, but the DoJ says that the maximum fine could actually be double the gain from the offences committed or double the loss of those victimised if either were found to be higher than the normal maximum. According to the case, he was involved with “meetings, conversations and communications in the US and elsewhere to discuss the cargo rates to be charged on certain routes to and from the US”.

In light of the news, shares in Qantas fell 3¢ to AU$3.41.



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April 17, 2008

Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

A JAL Airbus A300

After admitting to price fixing on cargo services between Japan and the United States, Japan Airlines (JAL) has been fined US$110 million by the United States Department of Justice.

Prosecutors allege JAL earned $2 billion illegally between 2000 and 2006, although it is possible the scheme was operating as early as 1995. British Airways, Korean Air and Qantas all previously admitted being involved and paid fines. The cartel, which created artificially high prices by eliminating competition between its members, was exposed by whistleblower Lufthansa, who alerted authorities in exchange for immunity to prosecution. Three other airlines are also involved.

JAL is the biggest carrier in Japan and the biggest carrier of cargo between Japan and the US.

Japan will not take any further action against the carrier. The investigation was performed by two US groups, the FBI and the Department of Justice.



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March 19, 2007

A380 makes maiden flight to US

A380 makes maiden flight to US – Wikinews, the free news source

A380 makes maiden flight to US

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The A380 on its maiden flight.

The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, was set to land in the United States of America on Monday after a test flight. One of the A380s is flying from Frankfurt to Chicago via New York; the airplane will be carrying about 500 people.

It is being billed as the first time it has carried a near-normal number of passengers, though most will be staff of Airbus and German airline Lufthansa.

A second A380 is also travelling to the U.S. on Monday, but without passengers. This will be branded as a Qantas flight and fly from Frankfurt to Los Angeles LAX airport. The first leg of the flight going towards New York will be travelling under a Lufthansa flight number, and is due to arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport at 12:30 EST (16:30 UTC).

The test flights are being used to monitor everything from how easily the plane docks at the terminal gate to the way the in-flight dining and entertainment services work. Deliveries to Singapore Airlines, its launch customer, are not due until October – two years late.

Delays of the production of the A380 have cost Airbus more than 6 billion dollars. Airbus has warned there could be additional charges to come.

These monetary problems have led to a recently-announced restructuring program at Airbus, called Power8, in which 10,000 jobs go and several factories will be sold to Airbus partners. France will lose 4,300 jobs, followed by Germany having a loss of 3,700 jobs, while the United Kingdom and Spain will see 1,600 and 400 jobs cut respectively.

The Belgian government has announced that it will give up to 150 million € (US$ 199 million) in aid to help sub-contractors which supply Airbus and employ thousands of workers.

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