Australian airlines will now be required to keep two crew members inside the cockpit at all times during domestic and international flights, the government announced on Monday. The move follows the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, where it is suspected that the plane’s co-pilot deliberately took the plane down after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.
Warren Truss, the country’s deputy prime minister and the transport minister, said that the mandatory "rule of two" would be effective immediately. Under the new rule, which applies to all flights with more than 50 passengers, a flight attendant would need to be inside the cockpit if one of the pilots is absent, Sydney Morning Herald reported. The carriers include Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and TigerairAustralia.
“Different airlines have different operating procedures. … The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will ensure the methodology used by various airlines is the safest possible,” Truss said, according to Business Insider Australia.
The new safety measures were brought during the Cabinet’s national security committee over the weekend and Qantas, one of Australia’s biggest airlines, agreed to comply with the new rule. The airline said that this would apply to Qantas, QantasLink, Network Aviation and Jetstar flights.
“When one pilot needs to leave the cockpit for any reason, another authorised person will occupy the jump seat (as distinct from the control seats occupied by the Captain and First Officer) until they return,” Qantas said in a statement Monday, adding: "The safety and health of customers and employees is the Qantas Group’s number one priority. We have a comprehensive safety management system that guards against risks to our operations."
A spokeswoman for the company also said, according to the Daily Mail, that the airline was "monitoring" the information that was being revealed from the investigation into the crash of the Airbus A320.
Flight 9525 was traveling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf and crashed in the French Alps last Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. Officials are investigating whether co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane.