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Tougher cockpit rules for Australian airlines

Australian airlines will be required to have two crew in the cockpit of their planes at all times under stricter rules.

Transport Minister Warren Truss announced the new requirements on Monday.

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“Following discussions with the Federal Government, regulators and industry, the Qantas Group will have two approved people in the cockpit at all times in-flight,” Qantas said in a statement.

“This includes Qantas, QantasLink, Network Aviation and Jetstar flights.

“When one pilot needs to leave the cockpit for any reason, another authorised person will occupy the jump seat (as distinct from the control seats occupied by the Captain and First Officer) until they return.”

Virgin Australia also released a statement on the new laws, saying, “After undertaking a detailed risk review and consulting with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Federal Government, Virgin Australia today confirmed it is implementing a policy to ensure there are at least two crew members in the cockpit of aircraft at all times.

“Safety is our number one priority, and the Virgin Australia Group continuously undertakes thorough risk reviews to maintain the highest safety and security standards.”

The new laws come after revelations the pilot of a Germanwings plane that crashed in France was locked out of the cockpit by his colleague.

In the wake of the tragedy, Australian airlines like Qantas said they had precautions in place to prevent such incidents.

Qantas said it annually evaluates pilots under 40 with aeromedical testing, and every six months in older pilots.

“Pilots have access to confidential counselling services and safety reporting channels,” a spokeswoman said.

The stronger cockpit safety requirements for Australian domestic and international airlines will take effect immediately.

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