Australia is the latest country to implement new cockpit safety laws after Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed flight 4U9525 into the French Alps. The new law states two people must be in the cockpit at all times.
“There is no law in Australia that requires there to be two people on the flight deck at all times,” explained Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “One or two of the smaller airlines in Australia have such a policy, but it is not included in the operations manuals of most of our major airlines. This will mean that one of the flight attendants would come and sit in the cockpit if one of the pilots needed to leave the flight deck for any reason.”
Truss also said the government spoke to the airlines, and they all agreed to the immediate changes.
“It’s very, very difficult to intervene in all of these circumstances because they are different in every case,” continued Truss. “But we certainly need to be sure that we are taking every possible step to make sure there isn’t an incident of this nature in Australia and global aviation is as safe as possible.”
After 9/11, airlines changed the cockpits to stop unauthorized people from entering. The new doors are “tough enough to withstand a grenade blast” and “locked throughout the flight.” A code is needed to enter the cockpit, but pilots can deny this access from within the cockpit. One of the black boxes on the doomed Germanwings flight caught Lubitz encouraging Captain Patrick Sondenheimer to use the bathroom. Not long after that, a loud bang is heard along with Sondenheimer’s pleas to Lubitz to open the door. Passengers are heard screaming in the background. It is already common for two people to remain in the cockpit on American airlines, but now European and others are changing their rules.
The BBC reports: “Air Canada, Westjet and charter airline Air Transat, Norwegian Air Shuttle, major German airlines including Lufthansa and Air Berlin, Easyjet, Monarch Airlines, Virgin and Thomas Cook have all confirmed they are changing their safety policies.”