European Union to Improve Commercial Pilots’ Mental Health Testing

Jul 25, 2018

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The European Union has passed new regulations focused on improving the mental health testing of commercial airline pilots. The new legislation follows the intentional and fatal Germanwings crash by the flights’ co-pilot back in 2015.

The new psychological testing will begin in the EU in 2020, according to the EU’s executive Commission. Before pilots begin flying, they will have to undergo the mental health assessment, as well as “systematic tests on pilots and cabin crew for psychoactive substances before they’re hired, and unannounced testing after they recover from any illness and return to work,” The Associated Press reports.

The new mental health precautions follow Germanwings Flight 4U9525, which turned deadly in March 2015 after the flight’s co-pilot locked the captain out of the cockpit and intentionally crashed the aircraft into the French Alps. All 144 passengers and six crew members aboard the Airbus A320 were tragically killed upon the impact on the rough mountainside.

The co-pilot who crashed the plane, Andreas Lubitz, had allegedly suffered from depression for years preceding the incident, but Germanwings, a Lufthansa subsidiary, wasn’t aware of his mental state and deemed him able to fly. The new psychological evaluations of pilots, including testing after a bout of illness, come in hopes of preventing a similar tragedy.

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