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Change law to punish wild in-flight drunks, IATA insists

March 27, 2014 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59The world’s airlines, and the travelling public, have had enough of abusive drunks behaving obnoxiously in flight, threatening other travellers and cabin crew and forcing flights to divert.

Recent examples have included people urinating in aisles, punching flight crew, trying to open doors in flight, exposing themselves to other passengers, claiming to be carrying weapons – even a woman who made a sexual advance to a male passenger and threatened to murder him when he turned her down.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging governments to close the legal loopholes that allow unruly passengers to escape law enforcement for serious offences committed while flying on aircraft. Legislation must be tightened to make it easier to prosecute such people, IATA argues. Dusit-Hot-Deals-Banner-250x250-06

On 26 March 2014, governments will gather for a diplomatic conference at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal to discuss revisions to the Tokyo Convention. The revisions would enhance the ability of law enforcement and other authorities to prosecute “the small minority of passengers who are violent, disruptive, abusive, or acting in a manner which might endanger safety”, IATA stated.

The Tokyo Convention, negotiated in 1963, gives jurisdiction over offences committed aboard aircraft to the state of registration of the aircraft. With modern leasing arrangements, the state of aircraft registry is often neither the state in which the aircraft lands nor the state of the operator. This limits the enforcement and the options available to deal with disruptive behaviour.

“For this reason, the airline industry supports proposals for jurisdiction to be extended to both the state in which the aircraft lands and the state in which the operator is located,” IATA declares.

IATA’s director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler, commented: “Airlines are doing all they can to prevent and manage unruly passenger incidents, but this needs to be backed up with effective law enforcement. Reports of unruly behaviour are on the rise. The Tokyo Convention was not originally designed to address unruly behaviour and there is a great deal of uncertainty amongst carriers as to what actions crew can take to manage incidents in the air. And if the aircraft lands in a state other than where the aircraft was registered, local authorities are not always able to prosecute.

“Passengers expect to enjoy their journey incident-free. And air crews have the right to perform their duties without harassment. In addition, the inconvenience to other travellers of a forced diversion is significant.

“At the moment there are too many examples of people getting away with serious breaches of social norms that jeopardise the safety of flights because local law enforcement authorities do not have the power to take action. IATA applauds the work of ICAO and supports the proposed revisions to the Tokyo Convention. Closing these legal loopholes will better deter such behaviour and make passengers think twice before acting in ways that may put the safety of many at risk.”

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. NO ONE who is inebriated should be allowed on a flight!! this should not be allowed to occur inflight. This is the problem of the land and checkin staff. They should be suspended for allowing this. Also, liguor should be limited to 2 drinks. This guy didn’t just pop up!! he was drunk upon boarding.

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