The rule came into effect as a precautionary measure in 2015 following the Germanwings tragedy in March of that year when suicidal co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the plane he was flying, killing 144 passengers and six crew.
Evidence from the cockpit recorder showed that the captain left the cockpit, probably to go to the toilet, and was shortly after heard knocking on the door and asking to be let back in.
After the crash many airlines introduced the two-person rule, meaning if one of the two pilots left the cockpit at any time their place had to be temporarily filled with another crew member.
Swiss — Switzerland's national carrier — now intends to remove the rule from May 1st, having concluded that it “does not enhance flight safety”, the airline said in a statement.
A safety review “concluded that the requirement of having two crew members in the cockpit at all times during a flight does not enhance safety, and actually introduces additional risks to daily operations in flight safety terms (such as the fact that the rule results in more and longer openings of the cockpit door),” it said.
“Swiss also meets all the requirements demanded by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) of any airline seeking to abolish the rule,” it added, including suitable selection criteria for pilots, ensuring stable employment terms and giving pilots easy access to psychological support.
The decision was taken in close cooperation with the other airlines of parent company Lufthansa.