The 2-persons-in-the-cockpit rule, introduced by many European airlines after the Germanwings crash and based on a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) issued by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), raised a lot of scepticism. This initial doubt about its effectiveness as a “security” measure quickly evolved to a widely shared criticism by pilots and airlines alike. Now, a year after the introduction, there is sufficient evidence that the measure is rather ineffective and EASA announced to change its previously issued SIB in the near future.
The shift of opinion comes after a stakeholder consultation where a majority of aviation stakeholders, including more than 3000 pilots, spoke out against the measure. Airlines, cabin crew, pilots, trade associations and national aviation authorities all share a common view – the rule to have 2 persons in the cockpit at all times introduces additional safety and security risks.
As previously acknowledged by ECA, the measure is simply not an effective security tool. Quite to the contrary, such a measure has the potential of introducing a risk higher than the one it is trying to prevent. There are a number of arguments that weigh against the rule. First, inferring that pilots require monitoring when they are on their own on the flight deck has a potential to reduce passenger confidence. Second, it is highly doubtful that the presence in the cockpit of a person with no operational knowledge will actually improve security and safety. In fact, as most stakeholders agree, it might actually create new safety and operational concerns. And third, the more people get in and out the cockpit, the higher the risk to seriously compromise in-flight security.
So what was a well-intended ‘security’ measure is in fact – literally and metaphorically – opening the door to new threats. And it is a big relief to see the Agency acting in line with stakeholders to ultimately close that door.
The results at a glance