Today the Commission is publishing the report it received from a Task Force led by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525. Assembled in May 2015 at the request of EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, the Task Force analysed the preliminary findings of the crash investigation to assess the adequacy of European air safety and security rules. In today’s report, the Task Force issues six recommendations, primarily calling for better checks on crew members. The Commission will now thoroughly examine these recommendations before deciding on future steps.
Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said, “I am grateful for the swift and comprehensive work carried out by EASA’s Task Force. The safety of European citizens is at the heart of the Commission’s transport policy and today’s report is a valuable contribution. If improvements are to be made in the European safety and security rules or in their implementation, in order to help prevent future accidents or incidents, we will take the necessary action at EU-level.”
Patrick Ky, EASA Executive-Director added, “Key players in aviation and medical science worked closely together within the Task Force. This report is the result of a thorough analysis with practical recommendations, so that such a tragic event does not happen again. EASA is ready to take the next necessary steps, applying the lessons learned”.
The Task Force recommendations are:
- The principle of ‘two persons in the cockpit at all time’ should be maintained.
- Pilots should undergo a psychological evaluation before entering airline service.
- Airlines should run a random drugs and alcohol programme.
- Robust programme for oversight of aeromedical examiners should be established.
- A European aeromedical data repository should be created.
- Pilot support systems should be implemented within airlines.
Early in its evaluation, the Task Force concluded that improved medical checks on crews could bring a strong contribution to air safety. The evaluation focussed on medical and psychological assessments of pilots, including drugs and alcohol testing, for which screening tests are readily available. The Task Force also pointed at the need for a better oversight framework for aeromedical examiners. The report strives to reach a balance between medical secrecy and safety, and not to create additional red-tape for airlines.
The Commission will review the recommendations, taking into account advice received from other sources such as the independent accident investigation led by the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA)). Where legislative action is to be taken, EASA will be requested to develop concrete proposals, which will then be included in EU aviation safety regulations. EASA will also be asked to produce non-legislative deliverables such as guidance material and practical tools for information sharing, and to monitor actions taken by Member States and industry.