In a statement issued on 30th March, the Qantas Group has confirmed that after discussions with the Australian Federal Government, regulators and industry, flights conducted by the Qantas Group will have two approved people in the cockpit at all times in-flight. This includes Qantas, QantasLink, Network Aviation and Jetstar flights.
This means that if one pilot needs to leave the cockpit for any reason, another authorised person will occupy the jump seat (as distinct from the control seats occupied by the Captain and First Officer) until they return.
In the statement, Qantas clarifies that “This policy applies to aircraft with more than 50 seats. Of a total Qantas Group fleet of around 300 aircraft, this excludes Qantaslink’s fleet of 18 Q200s and Q300s, which generally operate on short sectors of one or two hours where the need for pilots to leave the cockpit is minimal. Qantas Group flights have between two and four operating pilots on board, depending on duration and aircraft type.”
The statement further added “The safety and health of customers and employees is the Qantas Group’s number one priority. We have a comprehensive safety management system that guards against risks to our operations. There are numerous layers of screening and support for pilots, ranging from regular medical checks to stress management training, confidential counselling and pilot-to-pilot support networks.”
Following the recent Germanwings tragedy, Qantas pledges to learn from any findings which will help to make aviation safer and offers their deepest sympathies to the loved ones of all those on board flight 4U9525.