As tales of airline passenger misconduct become more commonplace — and more serious — with an increasing number of people taking to the skies, a new legislative effort to punish troublemaking flyers has started to gain steam.
The new law, called Montreal Protocol 2014 (short for the Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft), is a global treaty which strengthens the powers of states to prosecute disruptive or unruly passengers, even while they’re abroad.
"Everybody onboard is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behavior. But the deterrent to unruly behavior is weak. About 60% of offenses go unpunished because of jurisdictional issues," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.
“MP14 strengthens the deterrent to unruly behavior by enabling prosecution in the state where the aircraft lands. The treaty is in force. But the job is not done. We encourage more states to ratify MP14 so that unruly passengers can be prosecuted according to uniform global guidelines.”
The governments of 22 nations have already ratified the legislation, which is slated to take effect beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.
The legislation is designed to close a legal loophole formed under the Tokyo Convention 1963, which placed jurisdiction over offenses committed onboard international flights, with the state where the aircraft is registered. This causes issues when unruly passengers are brought to the authorities upon arriving in foreign territories.
In addition to strengthening jurisdiction and enforcement, IATA reports that airlines are working on other measures to help prevent incidents and manage them more effectively should they occur, including enhanced crew training and raising awareness of the potential consequences of unruly behavior onboard.