Levels of global air rage rose by more than 1,500 incidents last year, new figures reveal.
Some 10,854 unruly passenger incidents were reported to Iata by airlines worldwide last year – a rise from 9,316 in 2014.
The 2015 figure equates to one incident for every 1,205 flights, compared with one incident for every 1,282 flights the previous year.
A significant proportion (11%) of reports indicated physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to aircraft.
Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified as a factor in 23% of cases, though in the vast majority of instances these were consumed prior to boarding or from personal supply without knowledge of the crew.
The majority of incidents involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of anti-social behavior.
The airline trade body is supporting a code of practice pioneered in the UK, which includes a focus on prevention of intoxication and excessive drinking prior to boarding.
Staff in airport bars and duty-free shops must be trained to serve alcohol responsibly and there is a need to avoid offers that encourage binge drinking.
Evidence from an initiative by Monarch Airlines at Gatwick has shown instances of disruptive behavior can be cut 50% with this pro-active approach before passengers’ board.
The industry believes that adopting this co-operative voluntary approach is preferable to heavy-handed regulation and licensing.
Iata director general and chief executive, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Unruly and disruptive behavior is simply not acceptable. The anti-social behavior of a tiny minority of customers can have unpleasant consequences for the safety and comfort of all on board.
“The increase in reported incidents tells us that more effective deterrents are needed.
“Airlines and airports are guided by core principles developed in 2014 to help prevent and manage such incidents. Be we cannot do it alone.”
“There is no easy answer to stem the rise in reported unruly behaviour,” admitted de Juniac.
“We need a balanced solution in which all stakeholders can collaborate.
“The industry’s core principles can help to manage the small percentage of passengers who abuse alcohol.
“And it must be balanced with efforts by governments taking advantage of all their deterrence mechanisms.”
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