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Canadian airlines required to have 2 crew members in cockpits at all times

WATCH: Airlines around the world wasted no time in changing rules to ensure two crew members are in the cockpit of every flight. Eric Sorensen looks at what happens when the threat to a flight is the person flying the plane.

TORONTO – Effective immediately all Canadian airlines will be required to have two crew members in an airplane’s cockpit at all times, Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt announced Thursday afternoon in Ottawa.

“Currently, there is no requirement to have two members in the cabin,” Raitt told reporters. “After this order, there will be a requirement to have two members in the cabin.”

“It could be a flight attendant, it could be a customer service person, but they have to be members of the cabin crew,” Raitt said.

Air Canada and Air Transat both announced earlier Thursday the airlines would be voluntarily implementing the new flight deck protocol requiring two people in the cockpit at all times during a flight.

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Porter Airlines already had the two-person policy in place.

“Following initial reports on the Germanwings accident we are implementing [the policy] without delay,” Peter Fitzpatrick, an Air Canada spokesperson, said in a statement.

On Thursday, French prosecutor Brice Robin said the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 was alone at the helm of the aircraft and “intentionally” sent the plane into the doomed descent.

The A320 began to descend midway through its flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf and crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.

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WATCH: Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr says there is no plan to change procedures on their airlines yet.

Air Canada’s move follows the likes of Norwegian Air Shuttle, Europe’s third largest budget airline, which announced it ordered new flight regulations that say two crew members must always be present in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.

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Other airlines, including Finnish national carrier Finnair, already stipulate that there must always be two crew members in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.

Germany’s biggest airlines, including Lufthansa and Air Berlin, say they plan similar rules as well. German Aviation Association spokeswoman Christine Kolmar said the plan will be presented to the country’s aviation authorities on Friday and the airlines will implement the new regulations “as soon as possible.”

After 9/11, Air Canada implemented a policy that if a pilot or co-pilot left the cockpit, a member of the flight crew would have to step inside the cockpit to guard the door, over concerns about threats from the outside.

A number of years ago, once more sophisticated locks on the cockpit doors were put in to place, this policy was changed, and a crew member was no longer required to enter the cockpit.

with a file from the Associated Press

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