On this sad day, our thoughts are with the families and friends, who mourn the loss of their loved ones. Since 24 March 2015 our pilot community has been relentlessly looking into how to make a ‘Germanwings scenario’ less likely in future. While most in the industry consider this as a ‘Black Swan’ event – i.e. too rare and too exceptional to predict and effectively prevent – EU aviation stakeholders, including the European Cockpit Association (ECA), have not spared any effort.
Our safety experts actively contributed to and cooperated with stakeholders within the ‘Germanwings Task Force’ set up by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), shortly after the crash. The Task Force’s recommendations and subsequent regulatory proposals put the focus on issues such as pilot medical fitness & mental health, Pilot Peer Support Programmes, and psychoactive substance testing. In this context, ECA provided advice and expertise, promoting adequate solutions to effectively address the issues identified by EASA and the official French accident investigation report.
Two years ago ECA had called on aviation and judicial authorities to gather and analyse thoroughly all available data, and stressed the need for an unbiased, objective and independent investigation into all factors leading to this accident. This investigation was completed in March 2016.
One of the central safety recommendations of the final accident investigation report is to mandate airlines to set up Peer Support Programmes (PSP) for their employees. Such programmes allow pilots to seek help on a wide range of issues, including mental fitness and other personal issues, and to be guided towards professional assistance (see also European Peer Support Initiative – EPPSI). Such programmes – which have worked well in many airlines – are now proposed by EASA to become mandatory across Europe.
Kameliya Encheva, Communications Officer, Tel: +32 2 705 32 93
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