Random Pilot Mental Health Tests Proposed


Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr says random tests to determine the psychological fitness of pilots could reduce the risk to passengers from mentally ill pilots. In his first media interview since the Germanwings disaster in March, Spohr told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung such checks would likely require a loosening of strict doctor-patient confidentiality laws that now prevent doctors from reporting potentially dangerous or disabling conditions to employers. The random checks might include blood tests for evidence of drugs used to treat mental illness. The airline reportedly confirmed that Spohr will make recommendations to a German government task force that is looking into whether medical procedures should be changed. It’s also going to determine whether cockpit doors should continue to be able to be locked from the inside.

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately dove an A320 into the Alps, killing all 150 people aboard. Lubitz had been treated for depression and had received a note from a doctor excusing him from work before the flight. It’s been speculated that eye problems that would disqualify him from flying might have triggered the tragic series of events but a motive has yet to be definitively determined. “Insights into the co-pilot’s motives could come out of a so-called psychological autopsy that will be done as part of prosecutors’ investigation now,” the newspaper quoted Spohr as saying.