Opinion 14/2016

Aircrew medical fitness - Implementation of the recommendations made by the EASA-led Germanwings Task Force on the accident of the Germanwings Flight 9525

This Opinion addresses the safety issues identified by the EASA-led Germanwings Task Force (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Task Force’) on the accident of the Germanwings Flight 9525.

Following the publication of the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA) preliminary investigation report on 6 May 2015, the Task Force examined the findings of the BEA report and assessed the adequacy of the European air safety and security rules. As a result of this work, 6 recommendations were addressed to the European Commission on 16 July 2015 related to the aircrew rules (Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011), as well as the air operations (Air OPS) rules (Regulation (EU) No 965/2012). This Opinion only proposes changes to the Air OPS implementing rules (IRs), which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Preventive measures such as:
    1. carrying out a psychological assessment of the flight crew before commencing line flying;
    2. enabling, facilitating and ensuring access to a flight crew support programme; and
    3. performing systematic drug and alcohol (D&A) testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment.
  2. Corrective and follow-up measures such as performing flight and cabin crew D&A testing:
    1. after a serious incident;
    2. after an accident;
    3. following a reasonable suspicion; and
    4. unannounced after rehabilitation and return to work.
  3. A complementary measure: mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew within the ramp inspection programme to ensure an additional safety barrier.

This last measure mandates random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew members who are not already subject to a psychoactive substance testing programme under a national scheme. EASA will provide the Member States with a list of operators whose crew members will not be subject to random alcohol screening during ramp inspections to avoid double testing.