Hexcel do supply material for this part. It is made by the Airbus factory in Stade in Germany. Damage tolerance to composite has always been a major concern. This aircraft had reportedly been subjected to a severe turbulenece incident and who can say what impact that may have had.
The picture of the part being lifted from the water is interesting as it clearly shows the lugs (composite attachment points) have been ripped out of the bottom of the stabiliser. Hexcel was doing some work on this technology in the early 90s, and my suspision is that the investigation will look at how effectively these lugs have been bonded into the structure and how damage tolerant this is.
Effect on Hexcel - it is another distraction that they could well do without and it may effect mid term thinking on the use of composites in aircarft - especially at Airbus as their damage tolerance fear of composite may have been realised. Airbus aircarft carry more Kg of Hexcel product than Boeing so this is not a good scenario.
I don't think this recent airline accident has anything to do with HXL's performance over the last couple weeks. I am amazed that the guys in Stamford don't wake up and issue some kind of statement about the stocks recent performance. What's going on with this new CEO? Is he aspleep?
HXL management is notorious for being way behind the curve when it comes to communication and planning. They are masters at reacting and not at proacting.
HXL's silence on the crash means two things to me: 1) they are maintaining silence in advance of a lawsuit, and, 2) it's a suit they expect to lose. If it were my product but not involved I would be trumpeting it to the heavens.