The Germanwings airline was created in 2002, essentially for short and medium-haul flights from regional German airports, as a low-cost spin-off of national carrier Lufthansa.
In 2013 Lufthansa handed it all its short and long-haul business, except for at the Munich and Frankfurt hubs, bringing Germanwings passenger numbers up to 16 million a year. It has never had an accident before.
Based in Cologne, it flies 78 aircraft, mostly Airbus planes, to 65 destinations in Europe and the Middle East. It is Lufthansa’s low-cost response to similar companies Vueling and Transavia, set up by national carrier rivals British Airways and Air France/KLM respectively, and the low-cost pioneers easyjet and Ryanair.