Germanwings Flight 4U9525 -- What We Know So Far


What is known:

  • Accident: Germanwings 4U9525 crashed in the French Alps near Prads-Haute-Bléone en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf – 24 March 2015

  • Aircraft: Germanwings Airbus A320; MSN147, D-AIPX. Delivered to Lufthansa in 1991. 24 years old. 58,300 hr and 46,700 cycles. Powered by two CFM56-5A1 turbofan engines. Germanwings is a low-fare arm of Lufthansa. Source: Airbus
  • More airframe information is available in this blog from Aviation Week Intelligence Network's fleets team 
  • Captain: 6,000 hr. flight time. Airline pilot for 10 years. Source: Germanwings press conference
  • Takeoff: 10:00 am local time in Barcelona (GMT+1). Source:,
  • Route: Barcelona to Dusseldorf – 144 passengers and six crew. Same route flown by 4U9525 (D-AIQP) the previous day. Graphic by

  • Reached cruise altitude of FL380 (approximately 38,000 ft.) roughly 27 minutes after takeoff at 10:27 am local time. Cruise ground speed of 476 kt., similar to previous day’s flight. Source:
  • Began a descent from cruise altitude without clearance and with no communications from the crew to air traffic control at approximately 10:31 am local time. Transponder code throughout the flight remained on the initial assigned code of 5512 (the emergency code is 7700). Source: Germanwings press conference,,
  • Descent continued relatively straight ahead for approximately 9 minutes at vertical descent rates from 2,000 – 5,000 feet per minute. Ground speed varied between 490 kt. and 378 kt. at time of last ADS-B signal received. Source:
  • Last position picked up by a Flightradar24 ground ADS-B receiver at approximately 10:40 am local and 6,800 ft. altitude, either due to crash or loss of signal at the receiver site. Source:
  • Lufthansa’s last fatal accident involved another one of its Airbus A320s registered as D-AIPN. The aircraft overshot the runway upon landing at Warsaw’s Chopin International Airport on September 14, 1993. Two people on board died. 

What is not known:

  • Why the crew descended from cruise altitude with no radio contact and no change to transponder code

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

Blog Archive

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×