Reports of unruly passenger incidents onboard aircraft increased in 2015, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Some 10,854 unruly passenger incidents were reported to IATA by airlines worldwide last year. This equates to one incident for every 1,205 flights, an increase from the 9,316 incidents reported in 2014 (or one incident for every 1,282 flights).
The majority of incidents involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of anti-social behavior. A significant proportion (11%) of reports indicated physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to the aircraft. Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified as a factor in 23% of cases, though in the vast majority of instances these were consumed prior to boarding or from personal supply without knowledge of the crew.
“Unruly and disruptive behavior is simply not acceptable. The anti-social behavior of a tiny minority of customers can have unpleasant consequences for the safety and comfort of all on board. The increase in reported incidents tells us that more effective deterrents are needed. Airlines and airports are guided by core principles developed in 2014 to help prevent and manage such incidents. But we cannot do it alone. That’s why we are encouraging more governments to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
The Tokyo Convention was modernised with the Montreal Protocol 2014, closing gaps in the international legal framework dealing with unruly passengers. To date, six states have ratified the Protocol. “More are needed in order to have a consistent global approach to this issue,” said de Juniac.