A number of pilots at Lufthansa's low-cost subsidiary Germanwings have refused to fly following a deadly plane crash in the French Alps that killed 150, but the captain of one of the aircraft of the company's fleet personally welcomed passengers on board and assured them of safety a day after the incident.
Hesitant passenger Britta Englisch boarded the aircraft from Hamburg to Cologne after the co-pilot of another Germanwings aircraft seemingly brought down the airplane in the French Alps. Englisch praised the dedicated pilot and his speech on Germanwings' Facebook page late on Wednesday. The post has accumulated more than 330,000 'likes' since it was uploaded.
"He introduced himself and his crew, talked about how he felt-that some of the crew knew someone on the plane, that he also had a slight uneasy feeling not knowing what happened… (The pilot continued that) he and the crew are there voluntarily, that the company didn't force anyone to be on duty, that he double-checked the plane this morning. (He said) he has family, kids and a wife who he loves, that the crew has loved ones and… he'll do everything to return safely to them every evening," read a translation of the post which was written in German.
"The plane was completely silent. And then all the passengers applauded; I want to thank the captain," the Facebook post added.
French prosecutors blame co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, for the crash of Flight 9525 that claimed 150 lives in southern France last week. The cockpit voice recorder has revealed that the pilot had been shut out of the cockpit when the Airbus A320 crashed.
Pilot suicide is also one of the theories behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which flew far off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 last year and is believed to have crashed off the Australian coast with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Pilot suicide has been suspected behind more than a dozen plane crashes over the past 40 years and the Germanwings incident has added to the apprehensions of passengers over the issue.