The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has stepped up aircraft safety protocols by implementing changes in cockpit rules.
The move took a cue from aviation regulators of other countries who tightened cockpit security in wake of a recent deliberate crashing by the co-pilot of a Germanwings plane into the French Alps.
Under one of the changes in cockpit rules, CAAP Director-General William K. Hotchkiss 3rd on Sunday said, a member of the flight crew (preferably male) outside of the pilot or co-pilot will be allowed to enter the cockpit if either the pilot or co-pilot leaves for lavatory break or other reasons.
This protocol would prevent either the pilot or co-pilot from locking out each other because of the presence of a third party inside the cockpit.
In the Germanwings crash, the co-pilot locked out the pilot and made the plane descend with intent to kill himself and the rest of the 150 people on board, leaving no survivors.
Hotchkiss said all airline operators should include procedures relevant to the changes in cockpit protocols in their respective Operators Manual and submit such procedures to the CAAP for review and approval.
The other change in cockpit security “mandates that [cockpit]doors shall be closed and locked from the time all external doors are closed following embarkation until any such door is opened for disembarkation, except when necessary to permit access and egress by authorized persons.”
The changes in cockpit protocols also call for monitoring from either pilot’s station of the entire door area outside the flight crew compartment to identify persons requesting entry and to detect suspicious behavior or potential threat. BENJIE L. VERGARA