The Australian Federal Government and QANTAS are considering changes to cockpit security following the Germanwings crash.
The Deputy Prime Minister said Australia’s aviation agencies were investigating if current cockpit safety requirements needed further strengthening. “The current regulations do not require airlines to replace a pilot who temporarily leaves the cockpit,” he said. This would mean at least three pilots on every flight as a pilot may need to leave the flight deck for “personal” reasons. Understanding the world-wide shortage of experienced airline pilots, this may not operationally feasible in the short to long term.
“Careful consideration needs to be made following thorough investigation to ensure that altering current procedures does not open other potential vulnerabilities.” One of these vulnerabilities could lead to the placement of inexperienced pilots onto the flight decks of commercial aircraft.
“Our two major international and domestic airlines are undertaking their own safety and security risk assessments of cockpit procedures following the recent tragedy.”
A Qantas spokesman said the airline was “monitoring the information coming out of the French investigation” and was considering whether any changes to its existing safeguards were needed.
Airlines including Norwegian Air Shuttle, Britain’s easyJet, Air Canada, Air New Zealand and Air Berlin all said they had introduced a requirement that two crew members must be in the cockpit at all times.
Regulations in the US already require that no pilot must ever be left alone at the controls and Canada has now followed suit.
Lufthansa said on Thursday that it did not see any reason to change its procedures, but later announced it would adopt new rules requiring two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times. “The passenger airlines of the Lufthansa Group will put this new rule into place as soon as possible in agreement with the relevant authorities,” Lufthansa said in a statement on Friday.