Last week, officials and airlines worldwide started requiring that two crew members are present at all times in the cockpit, after details emerged that the co-pilot of the ill-fated Germanwings Flight 9525 had evidently locked himself in the cockpit and intentionally crashed the plane into the mountains below.
Top European budget airlines Norwegian EasyJet and Air Shuttle, along with Air Canada, say that they’ll from now on require a minimum of two crew members in the cockpit while an airplane is in the air.
A group that represents Germany’s biggest airlines, including Air Berlin and Lufthansa, say that they are planning to implement similar rules. Christine Kolmar, the spokeswoman of German Aviation Association said that the airlines will implement it as soon as possible.
Canada’s government also gave an immediate order requiring two crew members to always be in the cockpit. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said that the government is reassessing all procedures and policies and is taking a close look at the situation in Europe.
As a result of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, United States airlines overhauled their policies concerning staffing in the cockpit. However, the procedure isn’t standard in Canada or Europe.
According to United States rules, every time that the door of the cockpit is open, the flight attendants create a barrier between the passengers and the cockpit. Typically, they use a beverage cart to create the barrier but some of the jets are outfitted with a mesh-wire barricade. If a pilot exits the cockpit one of the flight attendants takes his/her seat in the cockpit.
Some of the European airlines, such as Czech national airline CSA and Finnair, have been operating under similar procedures. But most airlines didn’t before the Germanwings crash that claimed the lives of all the 150 individuals aboard.
The Norwegian spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh-Jacobsson said that all commercial flights will adopt the new rules as soon as possible. She added that the airlines security department had been deliberating about the security measure for some time, and they decided to implement immediately.
Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline, said that they have decided to implement the change without waiting for the policy change. The country’s other airlines, Transat and Westjet, also said they would implement the new change immediately. Porter airlines said that its policy has always been to always have at least two crew members in the cockpit.