Aussie Airlines’ cockpit changes following France crash
QANTAS and Virgin Australia have reacted quickly to new regulations requiring airlines to have two crew members in the cockpit at all times.
Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said on Monday the new rules would take effect immediately and would apply to all domestic and international flights by Australian airlines that operated aircraft with more than two flight attendants.
He said that covered all aircraft with 50 or more seats, and so included some larger regional turboprops and jets.
Mr Truss said the move was a safety precaution after last week's Germanwings crash, which killed 150 passengers and crew.
The Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz is believed to have locked the captain out of the cockpit before the crash.
Some media on Monday reported in a transcript of the flight recorder the pilot can be heard yelling, "For God's sake, open the door!" Passengers can also be heard screaming in the background.
Later the pilot is heard screaming: "Open the damn door!"
A Qantas spokesman said the airline would have two approved people in the cockpit at all times in-flight on 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," he said.
A spokesman for Virgin Australia confirmed it would ensure there were at least two crew members in the cockpit of aircraft at all times.
Regulators in Canada and New Zealand announced within 24 hours of news of last week's crash they would move to the so-called "rule of two".
US airlines already had the rule in place before the Germanwings crash.
Mr Truss said the regulation would be reviewed after 12 months.
SBS reported that relatives of the two Australian victims of the disaster were in Europe and preparing to travel to the crash site.
Malcolm Coram and his daughters Georgina and Philippa were heading to the French Alps following the loss of his sister Carol Friday and nephew Greig Friday.