Germany is considering introducing random drug and alcohol testing for pilots, to reduce the risk of a repeat of the Germanwings crash, according to local media reports.

The plans follow the recommendation of a taskforce set up by the Transport Ministry, after a pilot sealed himself inside the cockpit of a plane and crashed it in the Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

Prosecutors have found evidence the co-pilot, who had suffered severe depression and may have feared losing his job, had researched ways to kill himself and hidden an illness from his employer, sparking a debate on supervision and medical secrecy.

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told the paper Bild am Sonntag: “I think it’s sensible that pilots are checked on a random basis for the consumption of alcohol, drugs and medicines.”

He added: “Experts around the world see positive effects from this to boost operational safety in aviation.”

The minister said it was important airlines were given the responsibility to carry out the checks. The paper said Dobrindt plans to present the regulation to the cabinet in the new year.

But Markus Wahl, a spokesman for German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit, was quoted attacking the idea.

He said: “From our point of view the planned random tests are completely wrong. They have nothing to do with the Germanwings disaster and will put an entire professional group under general suspicion.”

In July, a panel of experts led by Europe’s aviation safety regulator recommended improved psychological screening for new pilots, and called for the creation of a European database with details of medical visits plus better support networks to reduce the risks of a similar tragedy.

It also called for the introduction of random drug and alcohol testing of pilots and better oversight of the doctors responsible for their regular medical checks.