05/06/2023 01:21 PM

From Siti Radziah Hamzah

ISTANBUL, June 5 (Bernama) -- The International Air Transport Association (IATA) wants more countries to take the necessary measures to prosecute unruly passengers under the Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14). 

IATA noted that the latest figures showed that there was one unruly incident reported for every 568 flights in 2022, up from one per 835 flights in 2021 and the most common infringements in 2022 were non-compliance, verbal abuse, and intoxication. 

It added that physical abuse incidents remained very rare, but they had an alarming increase of 61 per cent over 2021, occurring once every 17,200 flights. 

IATA deputy director-general Conrad Clifford said the increasing trend of unruly passenger incidents is worrying and passengers and crew are entitled to a safe and hassle-free experience on board. 

"Passengers must comply with crew instructions. While our professional crews are well-trained to manage unruly passenger scenarios, it is unacceptable that rules in place for everyone’s safety are disobeyed by a small but persistent minority of passengers.

“There is no excuse for not following the instructions of the crew,” he said in a statement.

IATA said although non-compliance incidents initially fell after the mask mandates were removed on most flights, the frequency began to rise again throughout 2022 and ended the year some 37 per cent up on 2021 with the most common examples of non-compliance, including smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes and puff devices in the cabin or lavatories as well as failure to fasten seatbelts when instructed

Clifford noted that governments and the industry are taking more serious measures to prevent unruly passenger incidents in the face of rising unruly incident numbers. 

Countries are ratifying MP14 and reviewing enforcement measures, sending a clear message of deterrence by showing they are ready to prosecute unruly behavior.

On the industry’s part, there is greater collaboration. For example, as the vast majority of intoxication incidents occur from alcohol consumed prior to the flight, the support of airport bars and restaurants to ensure the responsible consumption of alcohol is particularly important. 


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