Lufthansa officials knew about the severe depression of the German pilot who crashed a Germanwings plane in the French Alps last week, killing 150 people.
Andreas Lubitz told them about his condition at a training school in 2009, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a statement from the airline.
It contradicts statements by Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr that the carrier knew of no reason why Lubitz might deliberately crash a plane.
That raises questions about Lufthansa’s screening process for pilots as it faces the threat of legal action from relatives of the victims.
Lufthansa said Lubitz, 27, broke off his pilot training for a period of several months but passed medical checks confirming his fitness to fly.
When Lubitz resumed training in 2009, he provided the flight school with medical documents showing he had gone through a “previous episode of severe depression”, Lufthansa said, citing e-mails between Lubitz and the flight school.
Duesseldorf state prosecutors said on Monday Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies before getting his pilot’s licence.
Last week, they found torn-up sick notes showing that Lubitz was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him.
Germanwings, Lufthansa’s budget carrier, said it had not received a sick note from Lubitz for the day of the crash.
Lubitz had a valid medical certificate at the time of the crash of the Airbus A320 operated by its budget unit, Lufthansa said.
Lufthansa is already facing unlimited liability for damages in the crash, lawyers.
Insurers have been told to set aside US$300 million to deal with claims, recovery costs and the loss of the aircraft.
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