Stock - IATA
Unruly and disruptive passenger incidents on board flights include physical assault, harassment, smoking or failing to follow crew instructions. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Geneva: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday expressed its appreciation for the UAE’s ratification of the Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14), a move that will strengthen the global legal deterrent against unruly and disruptive passenger incidents onboard flights.

“IATA welcomes the leadership shown by the UAE in ratifying MP14,” said Kamil Al-Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President Africa & Middle East. “Not only will this give the UAE authorities important new powers in dealing with unruly passengers that land in the country, but as a major aviation market and ICAO Council member, it will also encourage other States to ratify MP14.”

Read more

“Ensuring greater international harmonization and strengthening the legal deterrent against unruly and disruptive passengers who pose a threat to passenger and crew wellbeing and safety onboard is a priority for the entire airline industry,” he added.

Starting May 1, the UAE will have the jurisdiction to deal with unruly and disruptive passengers landing in the country, regardless of the aircraft’s registration. This resolves a loophole in international aviation law that has frequently resulted in the lack of prosecution for such behavior. According to an IATA survey, 60 per cent of its member airlines cited a lack of jurisdiction as a significant factor contributing to the lack of prosecution.

“Unruly and disruptive behavior on flights, such as physical assault, harassment, smoking, or non-compliance with crew instructions, can jeopardize flight safety, cause significant delays and operational disruption, and negatively affect the travel experience and work environment for passengers and crew,” IATA said in a statement.

The UAE is the 44th State to ratify MP14 and it is estimated that more than a third of international traffic is covered by States that are parties to it. Important aviation markets in the Middle East region have led the way in ratifying this important treaty. In addition to the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar have ratified MP14, representing 16 of the total States that are parties.