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Air safety Swiss pilots object to ‘two in the cockpit’ rule

Pilots can no longer be left alone in the cockpit

(Keystone)

A new regulation forcing passenger aircraft to always have at least two personnel in the cabin could create a security risk, the Swiss Pilots’ Association has warned. The rule came into force after a Germanwings plane was crashed by its pilot last year, killing 149 people.

In March 2015, the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight, who suffered from depression, deliberately crashed the Airbus 320 into the French Alps. He had waited until his colleague left the cockpit and then locked the door from the inside.

Having doors that can only be locked, or unlocked, from the inside was introduced to reduce the risk of the cockpit being entered by terrorists or hijackers.

But Swiss pilots fear that the new rule of always having more than one person in the cockpit could now work in favour of terrorists. It could result in the cockpit door being open for longer periods as cabin staff have to replace a pilot on a toilet break, for example.

“Because of this we are of the same opinion as the European Cockpit Association that this rule should be abolished,” Thomas Steffan, spokesman for the Swiss Pilots’ Association Aeropers, told Swiss public television SRF.

But the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has little time for the Aeropers complaint. It told SRF that Swiss pilots must also observe recommendations from the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) that at least two personnel must remain in the cockpit at all times.

swissinfo and agencies

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