EasyJet has prevented a possible repetition of the germanwings drama. The low-cost carrier is alerted by messages that 1 of their pilots sends to a WhatsApp group. The pilot writes he is probably going to kill himself. And a pilot with mental problems in the cockpit is very dangerous to all on board.
Pilot’s friends do the right thing
EasyJet becomes aware of those messages because the pilot’s friends alert the airline. Immediate action by easyJet follows by grounding the pilot. According to the British newspaper The Sun the pilot has since told his boss that he is not suicidal. Nevertheless, the decision by easyJet is very wise.
Andreas Lubitz, a germanwings pilot, commits in 2015 suicide by crashing the plane into the French Alps. Not only the pilot is killed, but also 150 passengers and crew members on board. Since then just a rumor of a pilot being suicidal is enough to take action.
Fortunately, easyJet is doing more than keeping the pilot on the ground. An easyJet spokeswoman confirms the incident. She says that the carrier offers support through an employee assistance program and a pilot peer support program. And she adds that the airline has a full occupational health provision across its UK and European network.
The story stresses how important it is that carriers have a program to support pilots with mental problems. Equally important is that relatives or friends inform the airline if a pilot seems suicidal. Or if a pilot seems to have mental problems.
In the case of Andreas Lubitz a medical doctor had diagnosed him with possible mental problems.
Doctors’ professional secret
However, the doctor does not communicate it to Lufthansa, Lubitz’s employer. If this is due to doctors’ professional secret, it should be investigated whether doctors can be allowed to make exceptions. After all, this might save many lives.
Related: “How to limit compensation after a crash”
Tags: suicidal pilot, germanwings, easyJet, doctors’ professional secret