Public Affairs Networking
25/03 – GermanWings – accident tests impact of low cost perceptions

Most of the media, especially German, Spanish and French, comment widely on the crash in the French Alps yesterday of an Airbus 320 of the German company Germanwings flying from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, leaving a total of 150 dead, 144 passengers and 6 crew members.

According to Metro and NDR Info, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk sent their condolences to the governments of the affected countries and expressed their compassion with the families and friends of the victims. Les Echos reports that Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and Mariano Rajoy will visit the scene of the tragedy today. The details of the crash remain unknown as of yet, and French PM Manuel Valls said that no hypothesis about the cause of the accident can be excluded at this time – although German security experts as well as US experts stated there were no signs of a terrorist attack, and poor weather conditions have also been excluded.

The fact that the black box has been recovered gives hope to the investigators of uncovering the cause for the crash. According to Diário Económico and La Croix, this was the first accident involving a low cost airline on European soil. The accident’s cause will be crucial to understanding if trust in low cost companies will be affected, even though aeronautic experts reiterated yesterday that safety rules for low cost companies are the same as for traditional airlines. In an interview with ARD, Lufthansa Chairman Carsten Spohr pointed out that flying remains the safest form of traffic, and that airlines are working hard to increase flight safety even further.

Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc also said that there is no correlation between the accident and the fact that it was a low cost airline. She explained that “the investigation into the plane crash is being conducted by the French authorities, as it took place on their territory, while the EU is cooperating via the European Aviation Safety Agency.” The Commissioner announced that EU authorities would reveal more news on the case through its spokespeople, as soon as next details were found out by the Agency. Delo reminds us that EU aviation strategy is one of the priorities of the Slovenian Commissioner, as in Mr Juncker’s European Commission, aviation is perceived as one of the motors of economic growth, employment and trade. ©europeanunion2015

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