Air Rage Incidents On the Increase - IATA

September 28, 2016

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The number of incidents of unruly passengers onboard aircraft is increasing, according to global airlines body IATA.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) report said incidents of ‘air rage’ increased to 10,854 in 2015 from 9,316 in 2014, a rise of 16.5 percent. There was one incident every 1,205 flights on average.

About 11 percent of incidents were of physical aggression towards passengers or crew, or damage to the aircraft. Other reports involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of anti-social behaviour.

"Unruly and disruptive behaviour is simply not acceptable.… The increase in reported incidents tells us that more effective deterrents are needed,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said.

“Airlines and airports are guided by core principles… but we cannot do it alone. That’s why we are encouraging more governments to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014,” he said.

The 2014 protocol closed gaps in the international legal framework dealing with unruly passengers, but only six states have ratified it so far.

Alcohol or drug intoxication was a factor in almost a quarter (23 percent) of cases. In most of these, alcohol or drugs were consumed prior to boarding or from personal supply without the crew’s knowledge.

Some countries have focused on the role of alcohol as a trigger for disruptive behaviour. Airlines have strong guidelines and crew training on the responsible provision of alcohol, IATA said.

Staff in airport bars and duty-free shops must be trained to serve alcohol responsibly and there is a need to avoid offers that encourage ‘binge drinking’, IATA added.

An initiative by Monarch Airlines at London’s Gatwick Airport showed that instances of disruptive behaviour can be cut by 50 percent with a pro-active approach before passengers board the aircraft.

The industry believes that adopting a cooperative voluntary approach is preferable to heavy-handed regulation and licensing.

IATA represents 265 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic.