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French pilots fret over 'premature' cockpit rule change

French pilots are concerned that new cockpit occupancy procedures, in the wake of the Germanwings Airbus crash, are being rushed in without proper consideration.

Several carriers have amended procedures to ensure that two authorised crew members are present in the cockpit at all times.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has formally recommended that carriers adopt this approach, or an equivalent mitigating measure.

But French pilots’ union SNPL says that the decision – while understandable – has been reached “in haste” without “impact measurement”.

President Erick Derivry, describes the measure as “premature” and says the union holds “reservations”.

SNPL says the inquiry into the 24 March crash of an A320, the apparent result of deliberate action by a pilot left alone in the cockpit, is not “sufficiently complete”.

There are still “grey areas” regarding the circumstances of the event, it adds, and the cause has not been formally confirmed.

SNPL also claims the cockpit-occupancy changes have not been thoroughly evaluated or subjected to a risk assessment.

EASA notes, in its bulletin detailing the recommendation: “Any additional risks stemming from the introduction of such procedures or measures should be assessed and mitigated.”

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