Australia Ponders 2 People Cockpit Rule

2nd Apr 2015

In the aftermath of Germanwings crash, many countries have changed their aircraft safety regulations and are now demanding that at least two people be present in the cockpit at all times.

Australian air travel authorities are still pondering if the two-people cockpit rule should be implemented by their carriers.

Warren Truss, Australian Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development said that they will wait for the official Germanwings crash investigation to conclude before making a decision.

He said:

"The current regulations do not require airlines to replace a pilot who temporarily leaves the cockpit. Careful consideration needs to be made following the thorough investigation to ensure that altering current procedures does not open other potential vulnerabilities. Our two major international and domestic airlines are undertaking their own safety and security risk assessments of cockpit procedures following the recent tragedy."

Qantas and Virgin Airlines Still Undecided

The two biggest carriers in Australia Qantas and Virgin Airlines are so far undecided if they should alter cockpit procedures above the regulatory requirements.

According to the president of Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA), Captain John Lyons Virgin Airlines pilot union is fully behind the international cockpit safety procedure assessment.

Lyons added:

"VIPA and the wider pilot community have been concerned about a pilot's ability to access the cockpit under all circumstances."

A spokesperson for Qantas Airways said that his company is still contemplating if present safeguards require to be modified. He also added that Qantas is in talks with regulators about this matter.

Pilot's View on 2-People Cockpit Rule

Nathan Safe, president of Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) explained that:

"The most obvious reason you would have that system is for them to open the door. Even having a flight attendant there isn't going to make the system foolproof. It is an additional person that manually opens the door. I can't see them having a wrestling match in the cockpit or fly the plane physically. That is getting far too creative in my view."

Asked about this, most pilots agreed. According to them, a flight attendant would probably not be able to make a distress call, even if they knew about the descend. especially if it was not fast enough to be alarming.

One pilot however, said that the mere presence of another person in the cockpit might dissuade the pilot from bringing down the plane on purpose like Lubitz did with Germanwings.