Metro speaks with Ronan Hubert, an accidentologist at the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A), a Swiss organisation that collates data on global air disasters, on the Germanwings A320 crash over the French Alps.

Why were there no survivors?

– The problem is that accidents normally occur in the airport or near it, 80% of them happen shortly before the landing. In this case, the aircraft crashed in a mountaneous area, on the attitude between 2,000 and 3,000 meters. There is snow there, but weather conditions are good. However, the area is very difficult for the rescue operation. And, of course, we need time to be sure that we can find survivors, but unfortunately it’s very hard as the crash occurred in a mountaneous region.

Are low-cost airlines like Germanwings less safe as traditional ones?

– The rules and the requirements are exactly the same for all commercial operator you will find in the European Union. These requirements are valid for the operator, the crew, pilot, everyone.

Is the Airbus A320 craft reliable?

– It’s a good aircraft, which has been on the market for some 27 years. There have been more than 10,000 models of this aircraft, making it the second-largest success story in the aviation industry. And despite the fact that the crashed plane was 25 years old, it’s a very reliable aircraft, very steady and safe.

Is it the first catastrophe for Germanwings?

– Yes, this is a first tragic event for this operator. Also, it’s the first catastrophe in Europe’s low-cost industry. It’s important to keep in mind that low-cost travel is not more dangerous as a normal scheduled flight or operator; this aircraft was in good condition, because it was serviced by Lufthansa. The investigation will say who made a mistake, what broke and what happened.