Airlines quickly introduce new cockpit rules after tragedy

Norwegian and other carriers bring in two-person cockpit rules
Airlines have been quick to change the rules on how many people are allowed in the cockpit, following the Germanwings tragedy this week. Revelations dramatically emerged yesterday that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself in the cockpit and set the controls for a collision course with the French Alps, crashing flight 4U 9525 on purpose and killing all 150 people on board.
As reported yesterday, the United States requires two crew members to be in the cabin at all times, but many other countries do not. Pilots routinely leave the flight deck, for example to use the toilet, leaving the other pilot alone at the controls.
Within hours of the news, Norwegian, Air Berlin, easyJet, Air Canada and other carriers introduced a new rule stating that two crew members must be in the cockpit at all times. However, Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Germanwings parent Lufthansa, has attracted criticism by saying such a policy change is unnecessary.
“I don’t see any need to change our procedures here,” he told journalists. “It was a one-off case. But we will look at it with the various experts at Lufthansa and the authorities. We shouldn’t lose ourselves in short-term measures.”
Later he conceded: “We will see whether there are measures that can be taken quickly to further improve safety.”
Meanwhile, German police have searched Lubitz’s home, taking away a computer and other evidence. Friends have described him as an affable young man who had given no sign of having harmful intent, Reuters reports. Germanwings says it picks its crew members carefully and gives them psychological tests.
[photo courtesy Lufthansa]