UPDATE 2-In reversal, crash-hit Lufthansa agrees to two-crew in cockpit rule

Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:13pm EDT
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* Lufthansa to require two people in cockpit at all times

* Reversal of earlier comments by CEO

* EU agency issues recommendation for European airlines

* Lufthansa creates new group safety pilot role (Adds details on safety pilots, other airlines changing rules, union comment)

BERLIN, March 27 (Reuters) - Lufthansa said on Friday it would introduce new rules requiring two crew members in cockpits at all times, a swift reversal after its CEO said such a change was not needed despite the crash at its Germanwings subsidiary.

The European Union said it would now advise all EU airlines to require two crew members on the flight deck, effectively ensuring that a rule which is already mandatory in the United States will now become the standard in Europe as well.

Prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Airbus A320 on Tuesday and deliberately steered it into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

Within hours of prosecutors disclosing that scenario, several airlines announced immediate changes to their policies to ensure pilots were never left alone in the cockpit.

Lufthansa's CEO Carsten Spohr initially said he saw no need for such a change, remarks that drew derision on social media, with passengers saying they would not fly. Within a day the company reversed itself.   Continued...