LONDON—The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration temporarily denied a pilot medical certificate to Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot believed to have deliberately crashed a Germanwings jetliner last month, before reversing its decision.
The FAA in a July 8, 2010 letter denied Mr. Lubitz’s application citing a “history of reactive depression.” It asked the German pilot to submit an updated report from his prescribing physician, according to information the U.S. agency released in response to freedom of information requests.
In a subsequent letter dated July 28, 2010, the FAA granted the medical certificate and said “because of your history of reactive depression, operation of aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur or any time medication and/or treatment is required.”
Mr. Lubitz is suspected to have intentionally crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps last month killing all 150 people onboard. The 27-year-old had been medically excused from working, but hid that fact from his employer.
A physician in Germany cleared Mr. Lubitz to fly following psychotherapy from January to October 2009, according to the FAA-released documents. Mr. Lubitz’s “high motivation and active participation contributed to the successful completion of the treatment, after the management of symptoms,” the physician, whose name has been redacted, wrote in a letter in February 2010.
Mr. Lubitz was prescribed anti-depression drugs Cipralex and Mirtazapine. Those drugs caused a remission in Mr. Lubitz’s depression and he was considered “completely recovered,” according to a medical specialist in Germany. The depression was attributed to “modified living conditions,” the medical specialist wrote without providing details.
Authorities said they would examine the process of pilot medical screening in the wake of the crash of the Airbus A320 jetliner.