Germanwings flight 4U9525 crash: Airline says jet in 'Aircraft on Ground' mode a day before

BERLIN - The parent company of Germanwings, the budget airline whose plane crashed in southern France on Tuesday with 150 on board, has said that the Airbus A320 was in "Aircraft on ground" (AOG) mode just one day before.

A spokesman from German airline Lufthansa told the Xinhua news agency that on Monday, the plane had a technical problem that stopped it from flying in Dusseldorf airport, confirming an earlier report from German magazine Der Spiegel that it was in AOG mode the day before the deadly crash.

The spokesman added that the jet went back to normal operation on Monday morning after the glitch with its nose landing door was "completely solved".

She also said there were "no security risks" as a result of the problem.

Another report had said that several Germanwings pilot had refused to fly jets of the same model as the downed plane, but the spokesman declined to confirm that.

She said some pilots had declined to do that job due to "personal reasons", and Lufthansa had been understanding of their reasons.

Earlier on Tuesday, Germanwings chief executive Thomas Winkelmann told the media that the plane had received its most recent "routine check" on Monday in Duesseldorf by Lufthansa Technik.

Germanwings told Reuters that it was unclear what caused its Airbus A320 aircraft to crash on Tuesday but that there had been no problems with the plane before take-off.

Mr Winkelmann told journalists at a news conference on Tuesday, hours after the crash: "There were no anomalies on the plane."

According to Reuters, he said Airbus delivered the plane to Lufthansa in 1991, after which it flew exclusively for the German flagship carrier until it was transferred to Germanwings' fleet last year. That makes the aircraft older than the 11.5-year average age of Lufthansa's fleet of 615 planes.

With input from Reuters and Xinhua