With just four companies manufacturing large commercial planes, any accident draws scrutiny to a firm.
The second Airbus jet crash in the past month has created a public relations challenge for a company that has so far had a good reputation for safety.
A month ago, an Air France Airbus 330 apparently broke up over the Atlantic Ocean on a routine flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 228 people on board perished. The accident is still under investigation, but initial evidence indicates that speed sensors may have malfunctioned, sending faulty information to one of the plane's flight computers.
It's too early to speculate on the cause of Tuesday's crash, but French air safety authorities say the aircraft was inspected in 2007 and found to have "a certain number of faults." They did not say whether the faults were structural, mechanical, or computer-related.
The Airbus has a good reputation for safety, but the recent accidents and reports about other problems "certainly can't help," says Robert Mann, president of RW Mann & Co., aviation consultants in Port Washington, N.Y. But Mr. Mann also notes that there are only four manufacturers of large commercial jets, so when there's an accident just a few names get scrutinized.