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One in three Air India pilot applicants since December 2015 failed psychometric test

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Since December 2015, a third of shortlisted candidates applying to be pilots with India’s leading airline have failed the test which analyses their psychological health, reports Aviation India.

The applicants had all previously successfully cleared the simulator and technical exams before failing the psychometric test.

Air India sources revealed that 130 of the 413 candidates had not passed the test which was introduced by the airline in December, introduced after the co-pilot of a Germanwings flight crashed his plane into the Swiss Alps in March 2015, killing all 150 on board.

Evidence shows Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked the captain out of the cockpit of the flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, triggered the automatic descent mechanism and deliberately steered the plane into a remote mountainside. An investigation into the incident showed he had been suffering from psychological issues for several years and was plagued by depression and suicidal thoughts.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) – the Indian governmental regulatory body for civil aviation – ordered regular monitoring of pilot’s mental health last year, based on recommendations of a committee headed by joint director general Lalit Gupta. Aviation India did not have any details on whether candidates rejected by Air India went on to find employment with other private carriers.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has also recently published a set of proposals to the European Commission for an update of the rules concerning the medical fitness of commercial flight crew. The proposals, which include increased screening for drugs and alcohol and comprehensive mental health assessment, are part of its Action Plan following the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident.