EU considers two-person cockpit rule after Alps crash

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The EU said Friday it is studying whether to make airlines keep two crew members in the cockpit at all times after the Alps crash in which a Germanwings co-pilot flew his Airbus into a mountain.

Brussels is considering changing its current rules following revelations that Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit on Tuesday and deliberately sent Flight 4U 9525 crashing into the ground, killing 150 people.

"We are waiting for the conclusions of the investigation under way and, if it's necessary, the safety rules will be reviewed," European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told a news conference.

Requiring two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times "is under review," she added.

EU air safety regulations do not currently require two crew members to be present at all times in the cockpit, but German airlines and some other European carriers have introduced the rule following Tuesday's crash.

An EU official separately confirmed that the 28-nation bloc was "looking at the question of the number of persons in the cockpit."

"It is a topic we are looking at very closely right at this moment," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Brussels could also quickly issue a temporary recommendation to airlines, as formally changing its rules could take between three and six months.

"There is work ongoing, reflections ongoing on whether we should go ahead with short-term measures," the EU official said.

"We are consulting on this question at the moment with the industry and with member states."

For a full directive to change the regulations, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) must present proposals to the European Commission, the executive of the 28-member bloc, which would then submit them to member states, airline companies and the European Parliament.

Andreeva said the Commission would wait for the formal results of the investigation into the Germanwings crash before taking permanent action.

"It's not the time to shoot from the hip," she said.