Germanwings Crash: Task Force Will Review Cockpit Doors, Pilot Tests

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/ Source: NBC News

Germany is to review airline safety procedures including cockpit door mechanisms and medical testing for pilots in the wake of last week's Germanwings crash, ministers announced Thursday.

A task force of experts — including some from the airline industry and union representatives — will discuss whether changes are needed based on the preliminary findings from the crash investigation.

Prosecutors believe co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the Airbus A320's cockpit and intentionally crashed Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf into a mountainside on March 24, based on recordings from the plane's cockpit voice recorder. All 150 people aboard were killed.

The flight deck security system, which allows anyone inside the cockpit to override the keypad-controlled lock on the reinforced door, will be reviewed along with the methods for obtaining medical certificates and psychological tests, Germany’s transport minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters.

The task force would aim to "improve safety and security,” he said.

Klaus-Peter Siegloch, of the Federal Airlines Association (BDF) in Berlin, said the review would not need to wait until the final publication of the accident report — but stressed that any changes should be weighed carefully.

The crash has thrown a spotlight on the opaque world of mental health screening for pilots, who face regular physical testing but are often expected to self-declare illnesses such as addiction or depression.


- Andy Eckardt and Alastair Jamieson