IATA is calling on governments to increase the legal deterrent on unruly passenger behavior by adopting global treaty Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14).
In 2016, there were 9,837 unruly passenger incidents reported to IATA (equating to one incident per 1,434 flights).
The most common unruly passenger issues in 2016 were, in order:
Compliance with smoking and other regulations
Disputes between passengers
The main issue the industry has is that—under existing laws—the country of the aircraft registration has jurisdiction over unruly passenger incidents onboard flights.
With a more effective international deterrent and improved preventative action, we’ll make flying even safer for all
This means if an incident occurs when an aircraft is away from its home base, police at a foreign destination are powerless to deal with the situation, and too often those accused are released without charge.
MP14 gives the country where the aircraft lands legal jurisdiction to deal with the passenger. IATA says this will lead to improved enforcement, and provide a stronger deterrent.
Tim Colehan, IATA Assistant Director, External Affairs, said: “Unruly passengers remain a significant issue for the industry and the only way to deal with this problem is for governments, airlines and other stakeholders to work together to resolve it.
“Together, with a more effective international deterrent and improved preventative action, we’ll make flying even safer and incident-free for all.”
So far, 12 countries have ratified MP14. A total of 22 states must adopt the protocol before it comes into force, which IATA expects to happen during 2019.