Why some Germanwings crew members refused to fly today

Following the crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525, some of the carrier's crews and pilots have refused to fly, and caused more than two dozen of flights to be canceled across Europe. 

Frank Augstein/AP
Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann addresses the media in Cologne, Germany on Wednesday. 150 people died Tuesday in the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps on the way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. Since then the airline has canceled 25 flights because crews have refused to fly.

Following the as yet unexplained crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in the French Alps with 150 people on board, several of the airlines' pilots and cabin crews have refused to fly.

Citing, "occasional flight disruptions" the airline announced Wednesday that 24 flights had been canceled on Tuesday and one was canceled on Wednesday. According to NBC News, London's Heathrow airport also reported a handful of flight disruptions.

"Following the tragic accident yesterday, individual crews of Germanwings refused to fly," Germanwings said in an issued statement. "Six people spent the night on cots which were provided by the airport."

Some had speculated that Germanwings crews were not flying out fear other Airbus aircraft could suffer a similar fate. However, this speculation was refuted by a Germanwings spokesman and claimed crews' refusal to fly was strictly personal and not linked to the repairs made to the Airbus 320 the day prior to the crash.   

The airline attributed the crews' hesitation to fly to losing fellow colleagues in such a tragic fashion, which was posted in a statement on the air carrier's website.

"Due to emotional distress, some crew members are also unfit for service today. Germanwings understands these circumstances, as crew members have lost beloved colleagues in the incident," the statement read.

Across Germany, a nation which takes pride in a safe and efficient transport system, the sorrow was exacerbated by the loss of 16 teenage students and two young teachers, who were passengers on the Germanwings flight. 

Germanwings is owned by the Germany's flagship airline, Lufthansa, and CEO Carsten Spohr was sensitive to Germanwings' crew members concerns and pledged "phycological assistance" to help crews heal emotionally, according to an Associated Press report.

"One must not forget: many of our Germanwings crews have known crew members who were onboard the crashed plane," Mr. Spoor said. "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."

To get passengers on the canceled flights to their destinations, Germanwings  reached out to rival companies to lease aircraft and crews, according to Mirror.UK. These companies included Air Berlin and TuiFly and flight records on FlightRadar24.com indicated that aircraft from both of these carriers were flying with Germanwing flight numbers.

"Today, Germanwings operates eleven aircraft, predominantly from other airlines like Lufthansa, Air Berlin and TuiFly on approximately 40 flights," read a company statement on its website.

 The Airbus A320 that crashed was grounded on Monday morning to address a noise in its front landing wheel doors, airline officials said. The aircraft made multiple flights after the one hour procedure was performed, according to RT. The aircraft had been delivered to the parent company Lufthansa, in 1991 and had logged 58,300 flight hours spread over 46,700 flights, reported Airbus

"The repair was purely to fix a noise that the door was making, and the aircraft was flying again from 10 a.m. on Monday," the spokesman said in a statement that appeared in the International Business Times report.

Terrorism is not suspected in the crash. Germany's interior minister said Wednesday that there was no reason to suspect foul play in the crash. Investigations would pursue all possible angles, Thomas de Maiziere told reporters on Wednesday. But he added: "There is no concrete evidence that third parties were involved in the causes of the crash."

The French air investigation agency says that it has successfully extracted the recordings from the cockpit voice recorder. It also said that the pattern of wreckage dispersal on the ground isn't consistent with a mid-air explosion, reported Reuters.

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