Spanair is 100 percent owned by the Scandinavian company SAS, and is Spain’s second major airline behind Iberia.
The company was founded in 1986 and has a fleet of some 65 planes.
In recent times it has struggled financially and job losses and the cutting of some European routes were being planned.
While there have been past incidents with the kind of plane involved in yesterday’s crash, Spanair itself has had a good safety record.
Spanair spokesman Sergio Allard said: “We can’t speculate on an accident. The responsibility for an inquiry rests with the civil aviation authorities. It is up to them to investigate and determine the cause. Spanair is going to cooperate at all times so the inquiry can be carried out normally and the cause can be established for this accident, which for us is very regrettable.”
The type of plane that crashed was a 15-year-old MD-82 aircraft, part of a series designed by McDonnell Douglas in the 1970s.
It is only now being phased out, but observers say it is more because of its costly fuel consumption than its safety record.