Citing skyrocketing numbers of reported incidents involving disruptive passengers, the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is calling on authorities to step up the prosecution of offenders.
CAA data for 2018 show that, by mid-August, 202 incidents had been reported. In 2017, the total for the year was 417, more than quadruple the 98 reports filed in 2013.
Airlines and law enforcement authorities should “make better use” of existing laws, the CAA said last week, adding that it would cooperate with the industry and other government agencies to prosecute those accused.
“Drunken and abusive behaviour on an aeroplane is totally unacceptable,” said CAA Director Richard Stephenson. “Not only does it upset everyone else, but it can also jeopardise flight safety. Criminal charges should be brought against offenders more often to act as a deterrent. Passengers need to know they will face the full weight of the law should they be found guilty of disorderly behaviour.”
A charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft can result in five years of jail time, the CAA noted. Fines and imprisonment also can be imposed for those found guilty of being drunk on board an aircraft, “acting in a disruptive manner,” smoking and failing to obey the captain’s commands.