Mental health checks for EU pilots proposed | News | DW | 16.08.2016
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Mental health checks for EU pilots proposed

The European Aviation Safety Agency has proposed tougher mental health checks for pilots. The recommendations follow last year's Germanwings disaster when a pilot intentionally crashed an airliner, killing all onboard.

The Cologne-based aviation safety agency proposed tougher medical examinations for pilots Tuesday, including better mental health assessments, in response to last year's air disaster in the French Alps that killed 150 people.

German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and intentionally slammed an Airbus A320 flying from Barcelona to Düsseldorf into a mountainside in March 2015.

It was later revealed that the 27-year-old pilot had a history of clinical depression and suicidal tendencies and the case has raised questions about medical checks faced by pilots as well as doctor-patient confidentiality.

Comprehensive screening urged

The latest proposals include "drugs and alcohol screening, comprehensive mental health assessment, as well as improved follow-up in case of medical history of psychiatric conditions."

The European Aviation Safety Agency also suggested "improving the training, oversight and assessment of aero-medical examiners" and preventing fraud attempts by requiring all incomplete medical assessments to be reported to the authorities.

The non-binding recommendations will "serve as a basis" for a legislative proposal due to be submitted by the European Union's executive towards the end of the year.

A proposal to instate psychiatric examinations of US airline pilots was ultimately rejected in June by the US Federal Aviation Administration which regulates aviation in the US.

jar/ rc(AP, dpa)

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