Lufthansa says Germanwings crash was `accident`

Lufthansa is working on the assumption that Tuesday`s crash of an Airbus operated by its budget carrier Germanwings was an accident, a senior airline official said.

"For the time being, we say it`s an accident, anything else would be speculation," Lufthansa vice president for sales and services in Europe, Heike Birlenbach, told reporters at Barcelona airport from where the plane took off.

The airliner, carrying 144 passengers -- including two babies -- and six crew, was travelling to the western German city of Duesseldorf when it came down in the French Alps, killing everyone on board.

The airline was unable to immediately confirm the nationalities of those on board, Birlenbach said.

"The information we know about passengers are the names. I can`t give any information about nationalities of those on board of the aircraft as we can`t assume (link) somebody`s name to nationality," she said.

"Be assured that as this information is available, which should be sometime tonight, we will disclose this information," she added.

Birlenbach said the Airbus A320 has passed its last routine check on Monday and could not explain why it took off 20 minutes late.

"Only if those checks are ok are aircrafts allowed to fly," she said.