BREAKING NEWS: Passenger plane carrying 148 people crashes in the French Alps en route from Spain to Germany
Airbus A320 sent distress signal at 9.47am GMT before vanishing off radar
Aircraft was carrying 142 passengers, two pilots and six cabin crew
President Francois Hollande does not expect there to be any survivors
Jet was operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline
A plane carrying 142 passengers and six crew has crashed in the southern French Alps en route from Spain to Germany.
The Airbus A320 disappeared from radar in the Alpes de Hautes Provence after sending a distress signal at 10.47am local time (9.47am GMT).
Debris from the jet, operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline, has been found near Barcelonnette, according to the French Interior Ministry.
French president Francois Hollande said that he did not expect there to be any survivors.
The local La Provence newspaper said the Airbus A320 was carrying 142 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew, citing aviation officials.
Lufthansa were not immediately available for a comment. Airbus had no immediate comment.
Germanwings today is the low-cost subsidiary of German national carrier Lufthansa, and was first branded in 2002.
The company’s history can be dated back to 1997, however, when it was known as Eurowings.
The airline’s main hubs are at Cologne Bonn Airport, Stuttgart Airport, Hamburg Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport and Dusseldorf Airport with further bases are Hannover Airport and Dortmund Airport.
Lufthansa have announced that Cologne-based Germanwings will be going back to its roots and re-branding back to Eurowings in autumn this year.
There are a total of 81 aircraft in Germanwings’ fleet, with an average of 9.2 years, flying to 86 destinations around the world. The fleet includes the Airbus A319, Airbus A320 and the Bombardier CRJ900.
There had never been a fatal crash in Germanwings’ history until the reports of today’s tragedy.
Back in December 2010, a Germanwings flight was said to be ‘moments from crashing’ after the pilots were overcome with fumes on landing at Cologne.
The plane had 150 passengers on board, and officials accused Germanwings of ‘playing down the incident’ to ‘avoid investigation’.