EASA Responds to Germanwings Tragedy with New Regulations

Final measures expected to take hold in 2016.

Germanwings Airbus A319
A Germanwings Airbus A319Aleem Yousaf/Creative Commons

When Germanwings Flight 9525 slammed into the French Alps in March, killing all on board, many aviation experts spoke out about improving the psychological and medical testing of airline pilots. In response, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is in the process of finalizing new regulations for increased airline safety.

"We need to act quickly if we want to minimize the risk of a catastrophe such as the Germanwings accident to happen again," said EASA executive director Patrick Ky.

Last week EASA presented its draft proposals at a workshop in Cologne, Germany, to get feedback from 150 experts, including pilots, airline authorities, cabin crew associations, medical experts and others from various sectors of the aviation community.

EASA's proposed measures included mandatory psychological evaluation for all new pilots entering service; drug and alcohol testing to be included in pilots' initial medical assessments and within testing programs; strengthened oversight of aeromedical examiners; the creation of medical networks to encourage peer support; a European repository of pilots' aero medical data to be shared confidentially between Member States; and the implementation of pilot support and reporting systems within airlines.

EASA's finalized proposals, including the feedback received at the workshop, will be presented in early 2016 and are expected to take hold throughout the year.