Germanwings cancels flight as pilots refuse to fly

Germanwings cancels flight as pilots refuse to fly
Empty and closed gates of Lufthansa's German low-cost carrier Germanwings are seen at Berlin Tegel airport February 12, 2015.

FRANKFURT - A number of pilots at German low-cost airline Germanwings refused to fly Wednesday following the deadly crash in the French Alps, saying they were mourning the victims of the doomed aircraft.

A spokeswoman for Germanwings' parent company, German flag carrier Lufthansa, said that "Lufthansa flights are going ahead as planned. One Germanwings flight has been cancelled because pilots don't feel they are in a position to fly."

She declined to say how many pilots declined to work on Wednesday.

The flight cancelled was the connection from the western German city of Duesseldorf to Barcelona. The Airbus that crashed on Tuesday killing all 144 passengers and six crew was travelling to Duesseldorf from Barcelona.

A spokesman for the pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit, Joerg Handwerg, insisted the decision was not because of concerns about safety.

"It has nothing to do with safety. The pilots have friends and colleagues who have died," Handwerg said on public television.

"That is such a heavy emotional burden that it's better not to get into the cockpit." Already on Tuesday, Germanwings had reported "occasional flight disruptions within its route network" as pilots were too shocked to fly following the news of the crash of an A320 Germanwings jet.

It was the first fatal accident in the history of Germanwings, and the deadliest on the French mainland since 1974.

"We understand their decision," Germanwings executive Thomas Winkelmann said on Tuesday.

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