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Germanwings plane crash hits stocks

The crash of a Germanwings passenger plane over France has severely impacted stocks of parent company Lufthansa and also dragged down other aviation companies. The A320 in question was 24 years old.

The Airfleets.net website reported Tuesday that the Airbus A320 Germanwings plane that

crashed over southern France

was more than 24 years old and made its maiden flight on November 29, 1990.

The A320 is widely considered the most successful model of the European aircraft maker and has been used largely by budget, no-frills airlines such as Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings.

Since the start of deliveries, the plane has had no problems finding buyers as its operating costs have been far below the 737 model of US rival Boeing. The A320 family also includes the A318, A319 and A321 variations, boasting many identical components and thus enabling airlines to save costs.

Markets react

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said Tuesday's plane crash marked a dark day in the company's history.

News of the crash sent shares in Lufthansa sinking more than four percent, but they recovered to end the day down 1.56 percent at 13.57 euros, still the worst performer on the Frankfurt stock market.

"Tragically, market movement cannot always been driven by pure stats," said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex trading group.

"News that a Germanwings plane has crashed in the south of France caused a fall in (the share price of) Lufthansa ... alongside Airbus, the plane's manufacturer," he told AFP.

"Much of the selling is due to uncertainty as to the cause, but questions will be asked and investor confidence and the impact of passenger numbers should not be underestimated," said Guardian Stockbrokers analyst Atif Latif.

Shares in European planemaker Airbus initially sank more than 2 percent in Paris, but ended the day with a gain of 0.52 percent at 60.31 euros.

"Tragically, market movement cannot always been driven by pure stats," Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex trading group, told the AFP news agency. "News that a Germanwings plane has crashed in the south of France caused a fall in Lufthansa ... alongside Airbus, the plane's manufacturer."

Guardian Stockbrokers analyst Atif Latif told the same news agency that sad news was bound to hit shares in the respective airline. "Much of the selling is due to uncertainty as to the cause, but questions will be asked and investor confidence and the impact of passenger numbers should not be underestimated," he added.

Other aviation stocks were also impacted negatively, including shares of Ryanair and Easyjet. Airbus itself saw its stock go down by 2 percent shortly after the plane crash.

hg/pad (AFP, Reuters)

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