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EU watchdog finetunes cockpit safety recommendations

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Europe's aviation watchdog issued new recommendations Tuesday to keep better tabs on crews following a deliberate crash in the French Alps last year cause by a depressed co-pilot.

[BERLIN]Europe's aviation watchdog issued new recommendations Tuesday to keep better tabs on crews following a deliberate crash in the French Alps last year cause by a depressed co-pilot.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was tasked by the European Commission in May 2015 with reviewing cockpit rules after the Germanwings disaster that claimed 150 lives.

In July 2015, EASA recommended more medical testing for pilots, including more psychological tests and drug and alcohol screening.

It said in a statement Tuesday that the proposals would "serve as the basis for a legislative proposal by the European Commission towards the end of 2016".

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EASA said it also hoped to fight fraud attempts by requiring aero-medical centres to "report all incomplete medical assessments to the competent authority".

The authority had in July softened a previous recommendation that two people should always be in the cockpit, following talks with industry representatives.

Now it says companies should determine on a case-by-case basis whether one person should be left alone at the controls.

"The risk assessment can be summed-up as: how well do you know your crew and how well do you control risks in your organisation," an EASA spokesman told AFP.

"This assessment may lead the operator to require two authorised persons in the flight crew compartment at all times."

The Germanwings plane was deliberately flown into a French mountainside by its co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in March last year in a tragedy that raised new questions about aviation safety.

Lubitz, 27, who was suffering from depression, was allowed to continue flying despite having been seen by doctors dozens of times in the years preceding the crash.

AFP

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