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PH eyeing more stringent flight safety measures

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PH eyeing more stringent flight safety measures

The Philippine air safety regulator is studying more stringent regulations on what goes on inside a commercial aircraft’s cockpit—in particular, that more than one crew member should be always present—after reports emerged that the captain of a Germanwings jet that crashed in the French Alps was locked out of the cabin.

The incident, which killed 150 people onboard including the co-pilot who French authorities believed deliberately crashed the aircraft on the mountainside, has prompted some carriers around the world to require a second crew member to always be present in the cockpit.

This will likewise be studied for Philippine carriers as well, said Rodante Joya, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines deputy director general.

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In an interview Friday, Joya said that flag carrier Philippine Airlines already has a policy of having a flight attendant stay in the cockpit should a pilot step out. Apart from PAL, Air Asia Philippines and Air Asia Zest implemented a similar policy last year. A Cebu Pacific spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

CAAP can mandate that this be done by all Philippine carriers, Joya said.

The crash involving Germanwings, a low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa, highlights how in-aircraft safety measures have evolved since the Sept. 11 attacks. Most are focused on protecting the cockpit from external threats—like the introduction of reinforced doors.

Joya noted that they would also study a requirement for a “neuropsychiatric exam” for all initial pilot license applicants, as well as periodical tests after that.

“The Philippine Air Force requires … physical exam that includes neuropsychiatry tests,” Joya said.

He also cited several instances in the past where air crashes abroad were deliberately initiated by members of the crew.

“I agree for a thorough review in light of many incidents reported to be [initiated by the crew]. I offer that this should be international policy and, if ever, we will follow whatever initiative the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) promulgates on the matter,” Joya added.

Some Philippine-based carriers said they have already established the necessary checks to ensure the safety of their aircraft.

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TAGS: Air Transport, Business, CAAP, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, germanwings, safety measures
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