The West

Aussies ugly air passengers
Aussies ugly air passengers

Air rage is soaring and Australia has one of the highest per-passenger rates, International Air Transport Association figures show.

There were 8000 incidents reported to IATA last year.

Australia, with just 3.1 per cent of global passenger traffic, had 383, or 4.75 per cent, of the incidents - four times the US rate.

Incidents included inappropriate comments, intoxication and altercations between passengers, smoking and other unruly behaviour.

The numbers do not include incidents at airport terminals.

IATA said there were more than 15,000 air rage incidents between 2007 and 2013, with an increase of about 30 per cent every year.

Binge drinking is a major factor in air rage incidents and in 2009 Qantas banned spirits and full-strength beer on WA flights.

This week, IATA member airlines resolved to call on governments and industry to work together on measures to deter and manage unruly air passenger behaviour.

"This resolution confirms the determination of airlines to defend the rights of their passengers and crew. Everybody on board is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behaviour," IATA director-general Tony Tyler said.

"Many airlines have trained both ground staff and cabin crew in procedures not only to manage incidents of unruly behaviour but also in measures to prevent them. But a robust solution needs alignment among airlines, airports and governments."

Intoxication, often resulting from alcohol consumed before boarding, ranks high among factors linked to such incidents.

"This resolution confirms the determination of airlines to defend the rights of their passengers and crew," Mr Tyler said.

One of the measures adopted is extending the legal jurisdiction for such events to the territory in which the plane lands.

IATA is demanding its members have policies and training for cabin crew and ground staff to enable them to prevent or manage disruptive passenger behaviour, including at check-in, during security search and at the gate.

It also calls for airports and airport businesses such as bars and restaurants to implement procedures that could help prevent unruly behaviour on flights.

The West Australian

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