Lufthansa is reportedly considering randomized medical checks for its pilots, after the Germanwings crash in March, which killed 150 people. The discount airline is a fully-owned subsidiary of the German aviation giant.
Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps on March 24, but the exact reasons for his actions remain unclear. He is thought to have suffered from a psychological condition, and investigators described finding evidence of an “existing illness and appropriate medical treatment,” and torn up sick notes at his house.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday that surprise checks would help reduce the uncertainty over the mental health of its pilots.
"Insights into the co-pilots motives could come out of a so-called psychological autopsy that will be done as part of prosecutors' investigation now," Spohr reportedly told FAZ, according to Reuters.
Spohr added that medical professionals may have to breach doctor-patient confidentiality in certain cases. Under current German law, employers have no access to their employees’ records and sick notes do not have to specify their medical condition.
Unlike other air crashes, "no clear consequences can yet be drawn with regard to onboard safety from the Germanwings crash," Spohr said, according to Agence France-Presse. "But of course we are continually working on minimizing the risks of flying still further," he added.