Singapore Aims to Crack Down on Unruly Air Travelers
Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines
Police and courts in Singapore are expected to win more authority over unruly air travelers within the next year.
The Straits Times reported Monday that the tougher laws could be passed in as soon as six months.
Currently, international civil aviation laws dictate that Singapore can only take action if an unruly passenger arrives aboard a Singapore Airlines flight or any other Singapore-based carrier.
While Singapore is likely to make changes in the near future, it could be several years before other countries are able to follow suit through new protocol established by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
According to a Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore spokesperson, all airlines operating at Changi Airport support the initiative to provide local authorities with more power.
"The ability to take such law enforcement action would be a strong deterrence against unruly behavior on board aircraft arriving in Singapore," the spokesperson said via the Times. "This would enhance Singapore's status as a safe and secure air hub."
Although still somewhat rare, unruly passengers have become more common of late. Citing the International Air Transport Association, the Times said airlines reported 9,316 incidents of unruly behavior in 2014, or the equivalent of one every 1,400 flights.
By comparison, the average was just one incident per 1,530 flights between 2007 and 2014.
In addition to disturbing other passengers, unruly behavior can oftentimes force a flight to be diverted. An IATA survey found that four out of 10 airlines have had to divert at least one flight over the course of the last year because of unruly behavior.
While Singapore and other countries await the passage tougher laws, much of the responsibility of preventing unruly behavior in the sky will fall on ground handlers and security personnel who are the most likely to identify a potential problem passenger before they board their flight.
More by Patrick Clarke
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