Details emerged today about the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz who French authorities say “deliberately” initiated the descent of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight that crashed this week, killing all 150 people on board.
The 28-year-old German, Andreas Lubitz, had worked for Germanwings, a Lufthansa subisidiary, since September 2013, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said today.
He qualified as a pilot at the Lufthansa training centre in the northern city of Bremen and began flying for Germanwings immediately after completing the course. He had 630 hours of flight experience, she said.
Lubitz was from the western town of Montabaur and lived with his parents there while keeping a flat in Duesseldorf, a Germanwings hub and the city for which the doomed flight from Barcelona was bound, Montabaur mayor Gabriele Wieland told national news agency, DPA.
French prosecutor Brice Robin said Lubitz was “not known by us” to have links to terrorism or extremists, and that German authorities are expected to provide additional information on his background and private life later Thursday or Friday.
Lubitz was registered as a member of a private flight club, LSC Westerwald, and was an avid runner who often took part in local races, according to public records.
The captain of the two-man crew, who has not been identified, had more than 10 years of experience with German flag carrier Lufthansa and its subsidiaries and had clocked up more than 6,000 hours of flight time, most of them on Airbus planes.
The daily Bild named him only as German national Patrick S., in keeping with strict privacy laws, and said he was a father of two children.
Lufthansa said it had no plans to name the flight personnel at this stage of the investigation “to protect the crew and their families,” a spokesman told AFP.
No indication of co-pilot’s motives: Lufthansa chief
The head of Lufthansa said today there were no clues to what led the co-pilot of a jet operated by its subsidiary Germanwings to deliberately crash the plane.
Carsten Spohr, chief executive of the German carrier, said he was “stunned” by findings that 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz appeared to have deliberately slammed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps.
All 150 people on board were killed in Tuesday’s crash.
He told a news conference shortly after French officials gave an account of the flight’s last minutes based on initial information gleaned from cockpit recordings that there was “no indication what might have led” to the young co-pilot’s actions.
“In our worst nightmares we could not have imagined that this kind of tragedy could happen to us here at the company,” Spohr said.
Cockpit employees are selected “very, very carefully” with much attention paid to their “psychological suitability”, the Lufthansa chief, himself a former pilot, added.
Lubitz began his training in 2008 and six years ago had taken a break during the programme before resuming again. He had passed his medical, flying and other tests and checks.
A Lufthansa spokeswoman said he had 630 hours of flight experience.
“He was 100 per cent airworthy, without reservation,” Spohr said.
He added that no security “system in the world” could protect an airline from such a disaster.
“Whatever safety provisions you have in a company, however high the standards, such an isolated case cannot be completely ruled out,” Spohr told reporters.