March 27, 2015
Many airlines to change cockpit procedures in light of Germanwings crash
Up until Wednesday’s Germanwings’ A320 crash, only airlines falling under the authority of the FAA operated a mandatory presence of two crew at all times in a plane’s cockpit during flights. In the event either the pilot or co-pilot needed to use the rest room, a member of the cabin crew, usually the most senior, or a relief pilot, would stand in attendance in the cockpit until the absent pilot returned. In an almost overnight reaction to the discovery of the reason for the crash of the Germanwings flight, many European carriers are now seeking approval to amend their cockpit procedures.
The German news agency, dpa, has reported that the German government will now require two crew members to be on the flight deck of any German airline at all times, and it is understood that this new requirement will become effective this Friday, March 27th. In Germany it is the government which is leading the way in the implementation of new rules and regulations, while elsewhere it is the airlines who are seeking governmental approval for their own proposals. It is understood that Norwegian Air Shuttle is pressing for immediate implementation of these new rules, having been considering this change to their procedures for some time. “Norwegian has been looking into changing its cockpit procedures for a while,” Norwegian Air Shuttle announced in a statement. “However, in light of the tragic Germanwings accident, we are speeding up the process so that two crew members always are present in the cockpit. This means that if one of the pilots leaves the cockpit, one crew member (presumably cabin crew) must replace him/her during this time … The new procedures will be implemented as soon as Norwegian has received an approval from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority.”
EasyJet will see this new procedure come into operation on Friday after receiving approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority. It has also been reported that in Canada, Air Canada and Air Transat will now be implementing the requirement for two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times.