Airlines Across the Globe Move to Require Two Crew Members at All Times Following Germanwings Crash

By Paul Riegler on 26 March 2015
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner cockpit

Boeing 787 Dreamliner cockpit

In the wake of Tuesday’s crash of a Germanwings Airbus A320 aircraft that is believed to have been caused by the co-pilot after he locked the captain out of the cockpit, killing 149 other passengers and crew members, numerous airlines and regulatory agencies announced plans to implement a protocol requiring two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times has come under scrutiny.

U.S. airlines follow a protocol introduced shortly after 9/11 that requires a flight attendant to enter and remain in the cockpit when one pilot is leaving.  Flight decks on aircraft are built to accommodate three or more people.

Most countries, however, do not require airlines to have two people in the cockpit at all times, unlike the U.S. standard.

On Wednesday, Lufthansa confirmed that it did not require two crew members in the cockpit at all times and said it was not unusual for one pilot to remain in the cockpit alone during non-critical phases of the flight.

On Thursday, numerous airlines, including Air Canada and low-cost carriers Easyjet and Norwegian Air Shuttle, announced new protocols that call for two crew members to always be present.  In addition, the Bundesverband der Deutschen Fluggesellschaften, an association representing Germany’s largest airlines including Lufthansa, parent of Germanwings, and Air Berlin, announced a similar policy.

Canada’s transport minister, Lisa Rait, issued an order that required two crew members to be in the flight deck at all times effective immediately.  Westjet and Transat announced they would immediately comply while Porter Airlines issued a statement saying it has always required two crew members to remain in the cockpit at all times.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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