• Germany's news in English

EU was aware of German air safety lapses

AFP · 5 Apr 2015, 09:21

Published: 05 Apr 2015 09:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The EASA, an EU agency, "had pointed out several cases of non-conformity," spokesman Dominique Fouda said, confirming a Wall Street Journal report.

"On the basis of the EASA recommendations the European Commission launched, in late 2014, a process calling for accountability from Germany," he continued.

According to Saturday's edition of the Wall Street Journal, "EU officials said Germany's air-safety regulator suffered from chronic staffing shortfalls that could undermine its ability to run checks of carriers and crew, including medical checks."

An EU Commission spokesman told AFP that, based on the EASA findings, it had "told Germany to get its aviation industry in conformity" with the rules.    

"Germany's responses are currently being evaluated," he added.

"This is part of a continuous system of supervision" in a process which can culminate in corrective action.

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a Germanwings airliner on March 24, had searched online for information about suicide and cockpit doors, according to prosecutors.

All 150 people on board Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf were killed when it crashed into the Alps in the bloodiest such disaster on French soil in decades.

German prosecutors have said Lubitz was diagnosed as suicidal "several years ago", before he became a pilot.

Regulator unaware of depression

Germany's aviation regulator says it had no previous knowledge of Lubitz's struggle with severe depression before the disaster, a media report said Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Office (LBA) told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that parent company Lufthansa had given it "no information about the medical background" of Lubitz.

In particular, Lufthansa physicians who examined Lubitz did not make the authorities aware of his "earlier phase of serious depression", the report quoted the LBA, which issues pilots' licences, as saying.

It said it first learned of Lubitz's mental health problems when it gained access to his file at Lufthansa's Aeromedical Center on March 27, three days after the crash.

Welt am Sonntag said that Lubitz had been tested at least six times by Lufthansa doctors since 2009 but after a psychological test was ordered that year, no further mental health evaluations were carried out.

The newspaper quoted Lufthansa as saying that it declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation into the crash.

Story continues below…

The LBA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, has come under huge pressure after it emerged that Lubitz had informed his bosses that he had suffered from severe depression.

Lufthansa said the co-pilot had told the airline in 2009 about his illness after interrupting his flight training.

Doctors had recently found no sign that Lubitz, 27, intended to hurt himself or others, but he was receiving treatment from neurologists and psychiatrists who had signed him off sick from work a number of times, including on the day of the crash.

Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr has said the airline was utterly unaware of any health issues that could have compromised Lubitz's fitness to fly, calling him "100-percent airworthy".

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd