ALPA: Too Early to Speculate on Cause of Germanwings Crash

"Many factors may have contributed to the Flight 4U 9525 tragedy. We urge the public to refrain from speculating about what may have transpired and allow a thorough investigation to be undertaken," its statement says.

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l's March 26 statement about the cause of the Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 crash in the French Alps two days earlier, which a French prosecutor already has said was intentionally caused by the 28-year-old co-pilot, cautions the public about immediately agreeing with that assessment. "Many factors may have contributed to the Flight 4U 9525 tragedy. We urge the public to refrain from speculating about what may have transpired and allow a thorough investigation to be undertaken," it states.

ALPA's statement also says North America's air transportation system "is the safest in the world because of a dedicated commitment by government, industry, and labor to work together to advance proven policies and procedures focused on achieving the highest standards. All airlines in the United States follow similar procedures when opening the cockpit door, which is the most effective tool to safeguard the flight controls and crew and to prevent unauthorized entry to the flight deck. In the United States, at least two crewmembers are required to be present in the cockpit at all times.

"Airline pilots in the United States and Canada are subject to rigorous screening and evaluation prior to being hired, including an assessment of the pilot's mental and emotional state," the statement continues. "Once hired, pilots are evaluated continuously throughout their careers through training, medical exams, and programs such as the Line Operations Safety Audit, as well as by the airline and during random flight checks by the Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada. In addition, all flight and cabin crewmembers monitor and evaluate each other while on duty, and procedures, processes, and programs exist to respond should a concern arise."

ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, representing more than 51,000 pilots at 30 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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