EASA taskforce preparing to table Germanwings air disaster recommendations by the end of July

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Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The European Parliament’s transport committee has discussed what likely measures could prevent another Germanwings disaster from ever happening again.

The Germanwings disaster in the French Alps on 24 March raised important questions about air safety after investigators discovered the co-pilot  intentionally crashed the aircraft, killing 150 people.

Together with the European Commission and Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the transport committee members also discussed the likely recommendations of an EASA taskforce dedicated to the crash.

Transport commissioner Violeta Bulc in May asked EASA to establish a taskforce to  review cockpit safety rules following the publication of the preliminary investigation report on the causes of the crash by French air accident investigators.

In addition to EASA, the task force consists of several experts, including representatives from national authorities, airlines, pilot associations, medical doctors, airlines’ health services and training organisations.

The taskforce is expected to produce a report with recommendations at the end of July, after which the European Commission will have to decide whether to update aviation safety rules.

EASA chief Patrick Ky presented the work of the task force at the meeting of the transport committee on 29 June, which was opened by chair Michael Cramer, a German member of the Greens/EFA group.

“Reinforced cockpit doors were implemented in the aftermath of September 11,” Ky said. “We are [also] having a thorough look at medical checks, the initial and continuous assessment of pilots, psychological tests, drugs and alcohol testing and also a system for better sharing of medical data. We also want to have a look at the work environment of pilots.”

MEPs questioned EASA’s executive director on what the next steps would be. Romanian EPP member Marian-Jean Marinescu asked how these recommendations could be made mandatory, while Latvian ECR member Roberts Zīle wanted assurance that such recommendations would not produce unintended consequences.

On 27 March, when it had already become clear that the crash had been intentional, EASA published a recommendation for at least two people in the cockpit at all times, known as the four eyes principle. German S&D member Ismail Ertug welcomed the idea and questioned whether it would not make sense to make this mandatory by law.

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