Aviation: Fresh trouble for unruly passengers as ICAO, IATA launch new guidance

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By Ibrahim Mohammed 

#TrackNigeria – International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) have launched a new guidance on the prevention and management of unruly as well as disruptive passengers aboard airplanes.  

This was contained in a Press Release made available to Newsdiaryonline, on Tuesday by ICAO. 

Secretary General of ICAO, Dr. Fang Liu, and the Director General and CEO of IATA, Mr. Alexandre de Juniac, officially launched the new ICAO legal guidance on the management of unruly and disruptive passengers, the release stated. 

It noted that the new ICAO Manual on the Legal Aspects of Unruly and Disruptive Passengers (Doc 10117)  is a key result emerging from the adoption of the Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (Montréal Protocol of 2014). 

Furthermore, its chief aim is to assist national governments in legislating appropriate and better harmonized legal measures to prevent and deal with unruly and disruptive passenger incidents on international flights. 

The release quoted Dr. Liu as saying that “unruly and disruptive passenger conduct can pose distinct threats to the safety and security of aircraft, flight crew and passengers. It can also generate costly disruptions to airlines and passengers alike in situations when aircraft must be diverted to manage these incidents.”

For his part Mr. de Juniac said “enhancing safety is the shared goal for governments and airlines, and deterring unruly and disruptive behaviour on flights is key to this.  

“IATA welcomes today’s new ICAO guidance, which is intended to help governments address unruly passengers under their own national law. It covers many practical measures for consideration by policymakers, including ‘on the spot’ fines to boost enforcement action.” 

The launch ceremony for the new guidance, which took place on 7 June 2019, in Montréal Canada was attended by Mr. Michael Comber, Director, Member and External Relations, ICAO Affairs; Dr. Jiefang Huang, Director of the ICAO Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau; Mr. John Thachet, Chairperson of the ICAO Task Force on Legal Aspects of Unruly Passengers; and Mr. Andrew Opolot, Secretary of the Task Force and ICAO Legal Officer.

The release added that the Manual’s publication is also expected to encourage more States to ratify the Montréal Protocol of 2014. With the recent deposit on 5 June of the instrument of ratification by Uruguay, the Protocol requires two more countries to formalize their ratification before its official entry into force.

ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States.

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