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European Commission - Statement

Statement by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc on the one-year anniversary of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525

Brussels, 24 March 2016

"Today marks the one year anniversary of the Germanwings disaster and the tragic loss of 150 lives. On this day, all my thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. On behalf of the entire European Commission, I would like to reiterate my deepest sympathy and compassion. As hard as it may be, I would also like to tell them that this tragedy was not in vain. In the aftermath of the crash, we took immediate action, in order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Let us be honest, the dreadful chain of events that led to the crash shed light on a number of shortcomings in civil aviation. Safety should never be neglected and for the last year, we have been working very hard to address these shortcomings.

Immediately after the crash, the European Aviation Safety Agency recommended airlines to have two people in the cockpit at all time. This has now become a common practice in the EU. Last May, when the French investigators released their preliminary findings, I set up a Task Force to look into them and they have now made 6 safety recommendations. This was followed by an Action Plan on how to implement them, which is well on-track. The Commission has for example proposed the creation of a European aeromedical data repository. It will give aero-medical examiners better access to the past medical history of pilots, and help detect and look after those in need of medical or psychological attention.

Europe has the highest aviation safety standards worldwide, and the Commission is continuously working to maintain this position. This is a top priority of the new Aviation Strategy we adopted in December 2015."

 

Background

On 24 March 2015, Germanwings Flight 9525 travelling from Barcelona (Spain), to Düsseldorf (Germany), crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on-board.

On 27 March 2015, the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) issued a non-binding temporary recommendation for airlines to have two persons in the cockpit at all times.

Upon publication of the preliminary investigation report by the French authorities on 6 May, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc set up a Task Force led by EASA to look into the preliminary findings. The report of the Task Force was published on 17 July 2015 and contained six recommendations. It was followed in October 2015 by an Action Plan describing how these recommendations would be put into practice.

The delivery of this Action Plan is ongoing. On 7 December 2015 the Commission adopted a new Aviation Strategy for Europe, which includes a full revision of the EU's basic safety Regulation. In the Strategy, the Commission proposed the creation of a European aeromedical data repository for pilots, in line with the recommendation of the task force. More actions will follow in the course of 2016.

 

STATEMENT/16/1081

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