UAE airlines apply '2-in-cockpit' rule

Investigations into last Tuesday’s fatal incident suggest the co-pilot may have deliberately crashed the flight into the French Alps. (Shutterstock)

Emirates, Etihad Airways and Flydubai are implementing a ‘two-person’ cockpit safety measure with immediate effect in wake of the Germanwings crash last week that killed 150 passengers and crew on board.

Investigations into last Tuesday’s fatal incident suggest the co-pilot may have deliberately crashed the flight into the French Alps after barricading the cockpit door from inside, when the captain stepped out for a break.

A spokesperson from Emirates confirmed the development stating: “Although there is no international industry regulation that mandates this as a compulsory practice, Emirates has implemented a new operating policy where there would always be two crew members in the cockpit.

This is effective immediately.”

Etihad also confirmed the same, saying: “We have reviewed our operating procedures and will continue to do so in the light of the disturbing and tragic news from France.

“With immediate effect, Etihad Airways will ensure there are always two crew members in the flight deck at all times on all flights.”

A Flydubai spokesperson also reiterated the message saying: “In addition to the existing safety protocols, already in place, regarding access to the flight deck, flydubai has reviewed its procedures in light of the recent findings.

“With immediate effect, a minimum of two crew members or qualified and authorised personnel will remain on the flight deck at all times.”

An Air Arabia spokesperson has stated the Sharjah-based carrier is “currently considering and evaluating the ‘two-person at all times’ cockpit procedure that is being proposed”, adding it will announce any changes to its operating procedures as appropriate and in due course.

International aviation body Iata also stepped up to reassure passengers post the Germanwings tragedy, saying that safety remained the top priority of everyone involved in the aviation industry.

Tony Tyler, Iata’s Director General and CEO said: “People should be re-assured that flying remains the safest way to travel. Any accident is one too many. People can take further confidence in the well-established and constant determination of the aviation industry and governments to make this safe industry even safer.”

Iata further added individual carriers around the world are already looking at their procedures.

Investigators say tests on co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s body could provide crucial clues to explain why he might have locked himself in the cockpit of Flight 9525 and set the plane’s autopilot to crash into the side of a mountain.

The captain of a passenger jet that investigators believe was deliberately crashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, shouted at the co-pilot to “open the d*** door” as he desperately tried to get back into the locked cockpit, a German newspaper reported Sunday.

Forensic teams meanwhile announced that they had isolated 78 distinct DNA strands from body parts at the mountain crash site with investigators describing the difficulty of the search as “unprecedented” due to the arduous terrain.

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