BERLIN, April 28 German airlines will scrap by
June 1 a rule that two people must be in the cockpit of a plane
at all times, introduced after the Germanwings crash of March
2015, the BDL airline association said on Friday.
Investigators believe Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz
locked the captain out of the cockpit after he left to use the
bathroom and deliberately flew the A320 jet into a mountainside
in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
After the crash, Europe's aviation safety authority EASA
imposed a rule that two crew members should be in the cockpit at
all times, meaning that if one of the pilots needed to step out,
a member of the cabin crew should step in.
EASA relaxed the requirement last year, saying it was up to
airlines to carry out their own risk assessment.
The BDL said German airlines had independently come to the
same conclusion - that the two-person cockpit rule did not
increase safety but could rather create other risks, for example
due to the door being open for longer to let crew in and out.
It highlighted figures showing there was a greater risk of
airliners being hijacked than deliberately crashed, with more
than 1,000 cases to date, compared with four suicides.
The change came after new Europe-wide rules were introduced
regarding mental health screening and monitoring of pilots,
designed to reduce the risk of an event similar to the
Germanwings crash occurring.
Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa confirmed it
would lift the two-person cockpit rule across all of its
subsidiaries, including Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels
Airlines and Eurowings by June 1.
A spokesman for UK-listed tour operator Thomas Cook Group
, which owns German airline Condor, said the new policy
would apply to all four airlines within its group, including
those in the UK, Belgium and Scandinavia, by May 15.
Ryanair said its two-person cockpit rule remained in
place. EasyJet, the first airline to introduce the rule
after the crash, had no immediate comment.
British Airways said it would not comment on its
policy for reasons of security.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; editing by Mark Heinrich)