Australia orders new cockpit rules

Recovery team at Germanwings crash site in the French Alps, 25 March 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 crashed in the French Alps last week, killing all 150 people on board

Australia has ordered that two people remain in the cockpit at all times during commercial flights, after last week's Germanwings crash.

Transport Minister Warren Truss said the rules would apply to all domestic and international passenger planes carrying 50 people or more.

The rules would take effect immediately, he said in a statement.

Investigators believe the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane deliberately crashed the aircraft.

Flight 4U 9525, heading to Dusseldorf from Barcelona, came down on Tuesday in the French Alps killing all 150 on board.

A German newspaper has reported that the pilot of the plane, locked out of the cockpit by the co-pilot while he went to the toilet, tried desperately to get back in as the plane descended.

The Australian move to implement what is known as the "rule of two" will affect carriers including Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia.

"The airlines will be acting immediately to implement this change and we'd expect to see this policy in place within hours on our major airlines," Warren Truss, who is also the deputy prime minister, told journalists.

The rules would be reviewed in 12 months, he said.

The "rule of two" is common in the US, where members of the cabin crew enter the cockpit while one of the pilots is absent.

Airlines in Canada and New Zealand have also adopted the rule in recent days. On Friday, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also recommended airlines adopt such a system.

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