After Germanwings crash, Centre for more security in planes | india | Hindustan Times
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After Germanwings crash, Centre for more security in planes

A day after it emerged that the Germanwings plane was deliberately crashed by its co-pilot, the civil aviation ministry has sought details on security procedures aboard Indian flights from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

india Updated: Mar 28, 2015 00:37 IST
HT Correspondent

A day after it emerged that the Germanwings plane was deliberately crashed by its co-pilot, the civil aviation ministry has sought details on security procedures aboard Indian flights from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

While current rules dictate that the cockpit has to be manned by two persons at all times, having three pilots onboard a flight may help avert similar tragedies, a senior aviation ministry official said.

German co-pilot of the Airbus A320 allegedly locked his pilot out of the cockpit and crashed the plane killing all 150 people on board.

“The latest incident has triggered a debate on whether there is a need of a third pilot in the cockpit so that it (the plane) isn’t left to the mercy of a single pilot. The cockpit has a third seat (observer seat) meant for check pilots, training captains and pilots under training. While it would be a costly affair for the airlines to have three pilots on a flight, it could be a solution to avert a similar tragedy,” the official said.

At present, short-haul flights operate with two pilots. “When one of the two pilots takes a break or goes to the washroom, a cabin crew member should be present in the cockpit. This is a sufficient enough measure,” said a pilot. In the aftermath of Germanwings crash, major Indian carriers have instructed their cabin crew to follow this rule strictly.

Several changes had been introduced to tighten in-flight safety following the hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in December 1999. Most of these changes were aimed at making the cockpit virtually inaccessible to unauthorised persons. Cameras were installed outside the cockpit for pilots to monitor movements in the galley area, its doors were made bullet-proof and fitted with an electronic lock which could only be unlocked from inside by the pilots.