Following the March 2015 crash of Germanwings flight 9525 that killed all 150 people on board, the European Aviation Safety Agency on Tuesday proposed tougher mental health checks for pilots.
The proposals include introducing new requirements that would “strengthen class 1 medical examination for applicants for and holders of certificates by including drugs and alcohol screening and comprehensive mental health assessment as well as improved follow-up in case of medical history of psychiatric conditions.”
Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz, 27, barricaded himself inside of the plane’s cockpit and deliberately crashed the aircraft that was en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. His co-pilot was outside left outside of the cockpit. Evidence was later found that showed Lubitz suffered from severe depression and had researched ways to commit suicide.
The recommendations from the European Aviation Safety Agency come after a task force examined the crash that occurred in the French Alps. A rule from the agency requiring two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times was loosened last month with the determination now up to individual airlines after they conduct their own risk assessments, Reuters reported.
The agency also proposed improving the “quality of the aero-medical examinations by improving the training, oversight and competency assessment of the AMEs.”
The Germanwings crash caused airlines around the globe to reconsider pilot screening and safety. In June, American regulators increased doctor trainings in order to better to better identify mental health issues. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration also required airline and pilot unions to increase mental health programs that would allow people to obtain treatment if needed.
“We have to do more to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness,” said FAA administrator Michael Huerta, Bloomberg reported.
The European Commission is expected to examine the agency’s recommendations and likely will propose laws by the year’s end to strengthen mental health checks.