Australia orders two on flight decks after Alps crash

  • AFP, Sydney
  • Updated: Mar 30, 2015 10:18 IST

Australian airlines must ensure that two crew are on the flight deck at all times, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said Monday in response to the Germanwings disaster.

Investigators believe co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit of Flight 4U 9525 and deliberately steered the Airbus A320 into a French mountainside last week, killing all 150 onboard.

"The government has been in discussion with the airlines over the last couple of days and there has been an agreement that airlines in Australia will move immediately to adjust their flight operation procedures to ensure that there are always two people on the flight deck," Truss told reporters.

"The airlines will be acting immediately to implement this change and we'd expect to see this policy in place within hours on our major airlines."

Last week the European Aviation Safety Agency recommended that at least two people be present in the cockpit of planes at all times following the loss of Flight 4U 9525, which French officials say appears to have been a case of suicide and mass killing.

Many European airlines have since moved to implement the so-called "rule of two" which is already standard in the United States, while Canada has also ordered its airlines to impose the regulation.

In Australia, Truss said the new arrangement would apply to all aircraft which can seat 50 people or more, and would mean that a flight attendant must sit in the cockpit if one of the pilots needed to leave the flight deck for any reason.

"There are now quite a number of cases, perhaps more than a dozen over the last 30 or 40 years, which are thought to be aircraft crashes resulting from pilot suicide," Truss said.

"It's very, very difficult to intervene in all of these circumstances because they are different in every case but we certainly need to be sure that we're taking every possible step to make sure there isn't an incident of this nature in Australia and that global aviation is as safe as possible."

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