Germany’s aviation association has changed its position on requiring airlines to have two people in the cockpit at all times, and so effective June 1, German airlines will be able to fly without a copilot.
The news comes just two years after a co-pilot on Germanwings Flight 9525 reportedly locked the other pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally crashed the plane into the Alps. That crash prompted airlines around the world to adopt the two-person cockpit rule.
But the Associated Press reports that aviation association BDL, which includes airlines such as Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss Airlines, and Eurowings, believes that a two-person cockpit doesn’t necessarily increase safety. It said the rule, which is still the standard at U.S. and Canadian airlines, actually creates others security issues, including "frequent and predictable opening of the cockpit door" because a flight attendant must enter the cockpit whenever one of the two pilots needs to use the bathroom. It also limits a flight crew’s ability to react to passenger emergencies, as a crew member must remain in the cockpit.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) started easing the rule last year, recommending that airlines make their own decisions about enforcing it on a case-by-case basis.