Australian aviation security and safety

Media Release

WT092/2015

27 March 2015

Australian aviation authorities are reviewing initial information regarding the investigation into the tragic loss of Germanwings flight 4U9525.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today confirmed that Australian Government aviation security and safety agencies are investigating if current cockpit security and safety requirements need further strengthening.

“A more thorough review will consider information from, and the findings of, the investigation of the recent tragic loss of a Germanwings Airbus A320 and will recommend any required changes to aviation security and safety regulations and procedures,” Mr Truss said.

“We already have strict safety regulations in Australia to safeguard passengers and we take a preventative, layered approach to aviation security.

“Airline pilots are psychologically tested as part of their recruitment process. Pilots must also undergo at least annual medical, including mental health, checks under Civil Aviation Safety Authority licence requirements.”

To prevent hijacking of an aircraft, Aviation Transport Security Regulations require all aircraft used for regular passenger services to have a hardened cockpit door.

Regulations require the door must remain locked for the duration of the flight, except when necessary to allow a person to enter or leave the cockpit. Once an aircraft has taken off, entry to the cockpit must be authorised by the pilot in command.

“The current regulations do not require airlines to replace a pilot who temporarily leaves the cockpit,” Mr Truss said.

“Careful consideration needs to be made following thorough investigation to ensure that altering current procedures does not open other potential vulnerabilities.

“Our two major international and domestic airlines are undertaking their own safety and security risk assessments of cockpit procedures following the recent tragedy.”