TEMPO.CO, Berlin/Paris - Airlines rushed on Thursday to change rules to require a second crew member in the cockpit at all times, hours after French prosecutors suggested a co-pilot who barricaded himself alone at the controls of a jetliner had crashed it on purpose.
The United States already requires two crew members to be in the cabin at all times, but many other countries do not, allowing pilots to leave the flight deck, for example to use the toilet, as long as one pilot is at the controls.
That is precisely what French prosecutors suspect happened on the Germanwings flight on Tuesday. They say Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked the captain out and appears to have set the controls to crash into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board.
Airlines including Norwegian Air Shuttle, Britain's easyJet, Air Canada and Air Berlin all said within hours that they had introduced a requirement that two crew members be in the cockpit at all times.
Canada said it would immediately impose such a rule on all its airlines.
"We had a lot of concerned customers," an Air Berlin spokesman said.
Airlines including Ryanair that already had such rules in place rushed to reassure customers.
"I don't see any need to change our procedures here," Spohr told journalists. "It was a one-off case. But we will look at it with the various experts at Lufthansa and the authorities. We shouldn't lose ourselves in short-term measures."
His comments drew criticism on Twitter, with some people demanding the airline introduce the two person-rule.
"@lufthansa will you insist on having 2 crew in the cockpit at all times from today? I'm flying with you this weekend...," asked Twitter user @kazababes.
Later on Thursday Spohr told German broadcaster ARD that Lufthansa would sit down with other German carriers and the country's aviation authority on Friday to discuss the matter.
"We will see whether there are measures that can be taken quickly to further improve safety," he said.
"Today we spoke with all our members about possible consequences," BDL managing director Matthias von Randow told Reuters. "We will therefore look at introducing these new procedures without delay."