Follow-up of Germanwings Flight 9525 accident

The tragedy of Germanwings Flight 9525 reminded everyone in aviation that the medical and psychological conditions of flight crews, if not detected, can lead to a catastrophic outcome. The EU has responded by taking swift action to mobilise the aviation community and work towards ensuring that such a tragic event does not happen again. Below is an overview of the actions initiated at EU level, as well as the next steps in the effort to further strengthen the European aviation safety system.

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An EASA-led Task Force is convened by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, to examine the preliminary findings of the technical investigation by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) and assess the adequacy of European air safety and security rules

Read moreMay 2015

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The Task Force issues its recommendations, centered around the medical fitness of air crews July 2015

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In response, EASA puts together an Action Plan in the areas of air operations, aircrew, Information Technology (IT) and data protection

October 2015

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The dialogue with stakeholders on how to best implement the recommendations is launched at the ‘Air Crew Medical Fitness’ workshop, gathering more than 150 European and world-wide aviation and medical experts

Read moreDecember 2015

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Including the expert feedback provided at the workshop, EASA submits its proposals in the form of concept papers to the Agency’s consultative bodies, in the following areas:

  • The implementation and strengthening of air crew reporting and support systems within the airlines;
  • A mandatory psychological evaluation of commercial pilots before entering service;
  • Strengthening of the psychological part of the pilots’ recurrent medical assessment;
  • Introduction of drugs and alcohol testing for air crew;
  • Strengthening of the oversight of aero-medical examiners and creation of networks for peer support;
  • A European repository of pilots’ aero-medical data, to facilitate the sharing of information between Member States, while respecting patient confidentiality

Read moreJanuary 2016

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The BEA releases its final investigation report. Its findings, which are consistent with the proposals already made by EASA, are taken into account in the elaboration of the next steps

March 2016

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EASA launches a dedicated Rulemaking Task, RMT.0700

Read moreApril 2016

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EASA updates the aviation community at the Aircrew EASA Action plan Conference

Read moreJune 2016

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EASA issues revised Safety Information Bulletin on Minimum Cockpit Occupancy

Read moreJuly 2016

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EASA publishes its proposals for an update of the rules concerning pilots’ medical fitness (Part-MED)

Read moreAugust 2016

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In line with its Action Plan, EASA has submitted a Working Paper to the European Commission on the issue of balancing patient confidentiality and public safety.

 

Medical confidentiality is a fundamental principle in the provision of health care services. The chain of events that led to the Germanwings accident, brought the accident investigation board to observe that there might be cases in which personal information should be disclosed in the interest of safety even without the patients’ consent, if the benefits of the disclosure outweigh both the public and the patient’s interest in keeping the information confidential.

 

This paper, for consideration by the Commission, outlines how medical confidentiality is regulated in different Member States. It addresses the European data protection legal framework, highlights examples of the national council of doctors in France and the UK, and proposes actions aiming at striking a balance between medical confidentiality and public safety at European level, as laid down in Recommendation no. 5a) of the EASA-led Task Force.

Read moreSeptember 2016

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EASA publishes its proposals for new operational rules to better support pilot mental fitness

Read moreDecember 2016

Next steps

The European Aero-Medical Repository (EAMR) will go-live in the course of 2017. Its aim is to facilitate the sharing of information regarding the medical certification of pilots (class 1 applicants) among Member States (medical assessors of the licensing authority, aeromedical examiners and aeromedical centers), while respecting patient confidentiality and ensuring protection of personal data.

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