The German airline Germanwings cancelled numerous flights after crew members refused to fly due to the tragic crash of Flight 9252 in the French Alps.
“Some have refused their service for personal reasons, but not out of concern that something there is out of order,” explained the spokeswoman for Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings.
An unconfirmed report in Spiegel magazine claimed employees refuse to fly “over concerns the crash may have been linked to a repair to the nose-wheel landing doors.” But Lufthansa denies anything was wrong with the plane.
“One must not forget: many of our Germanwings crews have known crew members who were on board the crashed plane,” said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa. “It is now more important to ensure psychological assistance if needed. And we will get back to a full flight operation as soon as possible then. But for me, this is rather secondary now.”
Flight 9252 crashed on Tuesday just after 11AM, which killed all 150 people. It is the first fatal accident in Germanwings’ history.
“It has nothing to do with safety,” said Joerg Handwerg, the spokesman for the pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit. “The pilots have friends and colleagues who have died. That is such a heavy emotional burden that it’s better not to get into the cockpit.”
Germanwings cancelled 24 flights out of Dusseldorf Airport. The airport released a statement that said six crew members spent the night at the airport since they refused to fly. London’s Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest in the world, confirmed several flights through them were cancelled.
“We understand their decision,” stated Germanwings spokesman Thomas Winkelmann.