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Lobby wants pact on unruly airline passengers ratified

By Philip Mwakio | Apr 13th 2014 | 2 min read
By Philip Mwakio | April 13th 2014

By Philip Mwakio

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling on governments to ratify important changes to the Tokyo Convention 1963, which were agreed at a diplomatic conference in Montreal last week. The Tokyo Convention provides the legal framework for dealing with passengers whose unruly or disruptive behaviour leads to physical assault or poses a threat to the safety of a flight.

“This agreement is good news for anyone who flies, passengers and crew alike. The changes, along with the measures already being taken by airlines, will provide an effective deterrent for unacceptable behavior a board aircraft,” said IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Tony Tyler. “But governments must now follow-up on the success of the diplomatic conference and ratify the new protocol. With some 300 incidents of unruly behavior being reported each week, we urge governments to move quickly.”

New treaty

About 100 governments attended the diplomatic conference that agreed the changes, which will come into force when 22 states ratify the protocol to the Tokyo Convention. The International Civil Aviation Organisation has driven the process through from initial proposal to a new treaty in five years, a relatively short length of time for a new protocol to be agreed. By extending the jurisdiction from the country of aircraft registration to the destination country, the protocol closes a loophole, which allowed many serious offences to escape legal action.

 The agreed changes give greater clarity to the definition of unruly behaviour such as including the threat of or actual physical assault, or refusal to follow safety-related instructions.

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