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No Clues To Crash Pilot's Motives: Lufthansa Chief
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The head of Lufthansa has said there were no clues to what led the co-pilot of a jet operated by its subsidiary Germanwings to deliberately crash the plane.
Carsten Spohr, chief executive of the German carrier, said he was "stunned" by findings that 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz appeared to have deliberately slammed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps.
All 150 people on board were killed in Tuesday's crash.
He told a news conference shortly after French officials gave an account of the flight's last minutes based on initial information gleaned from cockpit recordings that there was "no indication what might have led" to the young co-pilot's actions.
"In our worst nightmares we could not have imagined that this kind of tragedy could happen to us here at the company," Spohr said on Thursday.
Cockpit employees are selected "very, very carefully" with much attention paid to their "psychological suitability", the Lufthansa chief, himself a former pilot, added.
Lubitz began his training in 2008 and six years ago had taken a break during the programme before resuming again. He had passed his medical, flying and other tests and checks.
A Lufthansa spokeswoman said he had 630 hours of flight experience.
"He was 100 per cent airworthy, without reservation," Spohr said.
He added that no security "system in the world" could protect an airline from such a disaster.
"Whatever safety provisions you have in a company, however high the standards, such an isolated case cannot be completely ruled out," Spohr told reporters.
Two-Person Cockpit Rule
Airlines around the world have begun requiring two crew members to always be present in the cockpit, after details emerged that the co-pilot of Flight 9525 had apparently locked himself in the cockpit and deliberated crashed the plane.
Germany's aviation association BDL has announced plans to introduce a two-person cockpit rule.
Leading European budget airlines Norwegian Air Shuttle and EasyJet, along with Air Canada, say they will now require a minimum of two crew members in the cockpit while a plane is in the air.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks U.S. airlines revamped their policies regarding staffing in the cockpit.
Whenever the door is open, flight attendants create a barrier between the cockpit and passengers. Typically, that is done with a beverage cart but some jets are outfitted with a mesh wire barricade. If a pilot leaves to use the bathroom, one of the flight attendants takes his or her seat in the cockpit.
Some European airlines, like Finnair, operated under similar procedures. But many did not prior to Tuesday's Germanwings crash.
Norwegian spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh-Jacobsson says the new rules will be adopted "as soon as possible" on all commercial flights globally.
She said that the airline's security department had been thinking about the measure "for a while, and today decided on it."
Air Canada says it will implement its change "without delay." EasyJet says its new rules will take effect Friday.
Pilots must have regular mental and physical check-ups, the UN world aviation body has said.
All pilots are required to "undergo a periodic medical examination (by a doctor who is trained in aviation medicine) that includes both a physical and a mental assessment," the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said in a statement.