Business News of 2014-06-12

IATA urges gov’ts, to tackle problem of unruly passengers

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) unanimously adopted a resolution that calls on governments and industry to work together on a balanced package of measures to effectively deter and manage the significant problem of unruly air passenger behaviour.
Such behaviours include committing physical assault, disturbing good order on board or failing to follow lawful crew instructions. “This resolution confirms the determination of airlines to defend the rights of their passengers and crew. Everybody on board is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behaviour” the IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler, said.
He noted that “Many airlines have trained both ground staff and cabin crew in procedures not only to manage incidents of unruly behaviour but also in measures to prevent them. But a robust solution needs alignment among airlines, airports, and governments.” The adoption of the AGM Resolution follows a Diplomatic Conference called by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) at which governments agreed to modernise and strengthen the Tokyo Convention 1963.
The result, known as the Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14), provides a more practically effective deterrent to unruly behaviour by extending the legal jurisdiction for such events to the territory in which the aircraft lands. “Governments have recognised that unruly passenger behaviour is a serious issue and we applaud the adoption of MP14 at an ICAO Diplomatic Conference earlier this year. Now, governments must ratify what they have agreed to,” Mr Tyler said.
The definition of unruly behaviour is wide and includes non-compliance with crew instructions, consumption of illegal narcotics, sexual harassment, and physical or verbal confrontation or threats. In 2013, the number of incidents of unruly behaviour voluntarily reported to IATA by airlines reached some 8,000 cases.
Intoxication, often resulting from alcohol already consumed before boarding ranked high among factors linked to these incidents. Other causes included; irritation with another passenger’s behaviour, frustration with rules such as smoking prohibitions or use of electronic devices or emotional triggers originating prior to flight.
Reflecting the broad number of factors associated with unruly behaviour, the Resolution’s core principles on unruly passengers take a wide-ranging approach to the issue.
In addition to calling on governments to ratify MP14, the core principles included calls for: Airlines to ensure that they have in place corporate policies and appropriate training programmes for cabin crew and ground staff to enable them to prevent or manage disruptive passenger behaviour, including at check-in, during security search, and at the gate; Governments and airlines to raise awareness of the consequences of unruly behaviour; and airports and airport concessionaires such as bars and restaurants to implement procedures that would help prevent unruly behaviour on flights.
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