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UAE looks at new law to deal with unruly passengers

There have been few instances in the country, says aviation authority


The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is working on new laws to deal with unruly passengers, its director-general has revealed.

In January, a violent passenger on a New Delhi-bound flight from Dubai was restrained by cabin crew after he refused to follow the in-flight security rules. Similar incidents have been reported in the past, with a passenger being restrained in 2015 after he created disturbance for almost six hours onboard an Emirates flight from Dubai to Melbourne.

“There have been very few instances of [unruly passengers] in the UAE. Though the current law has some clauses to deal with such issues, we are now working on new regulations,” Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi said, without giving further details.

At present, the GCAA lists rules for reporting incidents of unruly passengers in its civil aviation advisory publication. However, no details of the penalties are mentioned.

Last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the number of unruly passenger incidents onboard aircraft increased to 10,854 in 2015 compared to 9,316 in 2014.

The majority of incidents involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of anti-social behaviour. Nearly 11 percent of the reports indicated physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to the aircraft, while intoxication was identified as a factor in 23 percent of the cases.

IATA has already urged governments to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014 to close gaps in the international legal framework dealing with unruly passengers. To date, only six countries have ratified the protocol, it said.