The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has proposed new rules that will require airlines to conduct a pre-employment psychological assessment of pilots.
The proposal was prompted by the March 24, 2015, crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, an Airbus A320-200 that, according to the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA), was intentionally flown into the ground in the French Alps by its first officer, killing himself and all 149 others in the airplane. EASA’s proposed rules, submitted to the European Commission on Dec. 9, also call for support programs to be available for all pilots dealing with mental fitness issues.
Other proposals call for the introduction of systematic drug and alcohol testing of flight and cabin crewmembers upon their employment, after their involvement in an accident or serious illness, “with due cause (i.e., following reasonable suspicion)” and following their return to work from a substance abuse rehabilitation program.
In addition, airlines not already subject to national programs for psychoactive substance testing would participate in mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crewmembers through a European Union program, EASA said.
EASA added that the proposals address safety recommendations from an EASA-led task force and from the BEA as a result of the crash investigation.
EASA’s proposals will form the basis of a legislative proposal by the European Commission in 2017.