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Plane Crash Prompts New 'Rule of Two'

Several airlines said they will immediately change their cockpit rules. The new rule ensures two crew members are always at the helm during the flight.

AIRLINE RULE OF TWO: A new set of regulations follow the tragedy of Germanwings Flight 9525 on the 24th of March.

The pilot of a Germanwings Airbus A320 got locked out moments before the plane crashed in France.

Cockpit Rule of Two

The incident raised questions about the lack of a ‘rule of two‘ among European airlines. Including, how best to respond to a situation where the pilot got ‘banned’ from the flight deck.

EasyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle were the first of several low-cost carriers to act. They will bring in the new rule almost immediately. They took the decision to change procedures after consultation with the CAA in the United Kingdom.

Two People Must Occupy the Cockpit

The director for Norwegian flight operations suggested that these discussions had been in place a long time. Nonetheless, this week’s developments have accelerated the situation. From now on, when one person exits the cockpit, two people must stay there.

Two other carriers – Air Canada and Canadian Air Transat – also followed the trend. They stated they would require two of the flight crew to be in the cockpit at all times.

The CAA said it asked all United Kingdom carriers to check their processes and review procedures. A spokesperson said:

“According to the information that has arisen over the tragic incident German Wings. We work with colleagues in the European Agency (EASA) to coordinate aviation safety. We contacted all UK operators to encourage them to review all relevant procedures.”

Airline ‘Rule of Two’ Routine in the US

Somewhat reassuringly, a ‘rule of two’ is routine among USA carriers. The US Federal Aviation Authority said in a statement. ‘US airlines must develop safety measures that get approved by the FAA.

These methods include a requirement that, if one of the pilots leaves the cockpit for some reason, another qualified crew member must lock the door and stay on the flight deck until the pilot can serve as relief or returns to his station. A qualified crew member could be a flight attendant or pilot.’

There are specific rules laid down by the European Aviation Safety Agency. Pilots should remain in their ‘assigned station‘ and without absence during the flight. The exception is if they need to perform duties in connection with the operation or for physiological needs.

French officials said suggested that the tragedy happened because he appeared to have locked his fellow pilot out of the cockpit. Following this, he ‘deliberately’ crashed the plane. Post 9/11 emergency codes allow crew members to enter a locked cockpit in the event of incapacitated pilots by overriding the system.


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Airlines Launch Rule of Two following Germanwings Crash