Two-person cockpit rule followed by local airlines

Two-person cockpit rule followed by local airlines

Singapore Airlines and all other local carriers have taken steps to ensure there are at least two persons in the cockpit at all times, a requirement prompted by the allegedly deliberate crash last month of a German carrier by its co-pilot left alone in the cockpit.

Also, their crew have all along been required to undergo medical assessment, which includes an evaluation of the pilot's mental health, Senior Minister of State (Transport) Josephine Teo said in Parliament yesterday.

For those aged 60 and older, the examination is done every six months, she added.

The other local airlines governed by the new requirement are SilkAir, SIA Cargo, Scoot, Tigerair and Jetstar Asia.

Mrs Teo was replying to Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, who had asked if Singapore had a two-person cockpit rule and if pilots had to take regular psychological tests.

A growing number of civil aviation regulators and airlines are reviewing their cockpit and other procedures in the wake of the March 24 crash of the Germanwings plane in the French Alps.

Its co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, is believed to have locked his captain out and deliberately crashed the Airbus 320 with 150 people on board. It was found he told his flight instructors in 2009 he suffered from "severe depression".

Following the crash, Australia, Germany and Canada are among the countries that introduced the two-person cockpit rule. The US had been doing this even before that incident, Mrs Teo said, adding: "In our case, to the best of our knowledge, the airlines introduced it quite recently."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore also requires pilots to declare any ill health at any time.

All local carriers must have procedures for a pilot to report on another who, in his opinion, is not fit to fly. Pilots may submit confidential reports to the authorities or throughin-house systems.

This article was first published on April 14, 2015.
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