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Unruly Passengers

Unruly passengers are a growing challenge. IATA has responded with a two-pronged strategy.

Firstly, we have developed guidance materials containing information and best practice that helps members to prevent and manage unruly passenger incidents.

Secondly, we have been working through ICAO to advocate for the revision of Tokyo Convention 1963 in order to close legal loopholes that allow unruly passengers to avoid punishment for serious offences committed on board aircraft. The revision process concluded in early April when a Diplomatic Conference agreed a new Protocol that:

  • Extends jurisdiction, enhancing the ability of authorities to prosecute the small minority of passengers who are violent, disruptive, abusive, or acting in a manner which might endanger safety.
  • Specifies offences such as physical assault or refusal to follow a lawful instruction given by or on behalf of the aircraft commander (for safety purposes), helping States determine the grounds to prosecute.
  • Recognizes the right of airlines to seek financial compensation from unruly passengers

Our focus now is to persuade governments to ratify the Protocol as quickly as possible.

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© International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2014. All rights reserved.