Disruptive passenger behaviour is one of the main reasons for aircraft diversions. Disruptive behaviour in-flight or on the ground can affect your safety and the safety of fellow passengers. Besides safety implications, it can have serious consequences, including civil prosecution. Airlines have a right to refuse to carry passengers that they consider to be a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft, its crew or its passengers.
The punishment for disruption varies depending on the severity. Acts of drunkenness on an aircraft face a maximum fine of £5,000 and two years in prison. The prison sentence for endangering the safety of an aircraft is up to five years. Disruptive passengers may also be asked to reimburse the airline with the cost of the diversion. Diversion costs typically range from £10,000 - £80,000 depending on the size of the aircraft and where it diverts to.
We are working with airlines, airports and the Department for Transport to identify and develop new strategies that can minimise the frequency of these occurrences.
The following data is taken from the CAA’s
Mandatory Occurrence (MOR) database, and is the number of reported incidents of
passenger disruption on board UK registered aircraft in a given year. For more
details of what constitutes an MOR, see here.
*Note: due to a change in regulations, the
reporting requirements and criteria changed in 2016, leading to an increase in
the number of incidents reported.
** Note: the 2018 figure has been
changed following a processing error. The fall in incidents between 2017 and
2018 is presumed to be largely down to a reduction in the number of commercial
aircraft on the UK register.
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