A special hooray for Indian civil aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation who has notified and incorporated two new rules in to the Indian Aircraft Rules, 1937 meant to control unruly, drunk and abusive passengers on board domestic flights and all international flights destined for India.
Vide GSR 766(E) rules 22 and 23 have been added in to part 3 of the Aircraft Rules.
Assault and other acts of interference against a crew member
No person shall, on board an aircraft : ─
- assault, intimidate or threaten, whether physically or verbally, a crew member which may interfere with the performance of the duties of the crew member or lessens the ability of the crew member to perform those duties;
- refuse to follow a lawful instruction given by the Pilot-in-Command, or on behalf of the Pilot-in-Command by a crew member, for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the aircraft or of any person or property on board or for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline on board.
Assault and other acts endangering safety or jeopardizing good order and discipline.
(1) No person shall, on board an aircraft :
- assault, intimidate or threaten, whether physically or verbally, any person,
- intentionally cause damage to or destroy any of property,
- consume alcoholic beverages or drugs,
which is likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft or of any person or jeopardizes the good order and discipline on board the aircraft.
(2) For the purposes of rules 22 and 23, the jurisdiction of India shall, in addition to the applicability provided in rule 1 of these rules, also extend to any offence if the act constituting the offence took place on board any aircraft in flight outside India:
Provided that ─
- the next landing of the aircraft is in India; and
- the Pilot-in-Command has delivered the suspected offender to the competent authorities of India, with the request that the authorities prosecute the suspected offender and with the affirmation that no similar request has been or shall be made by the Pilot-in-Command or the operator to any other State.
As observed by Bangalore Aviation reader Nitin Nair, a patent analyst in a legal firm,
Before the above mentioned rules were introduced, unruly passengers were booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but were released on bail almost immediately. The airlines generally did not pursue further action against the passenger, resulting in the perpetrator going scot free.
This is a welcome addition to the Aircraft Rules, 1937 as the authorities have been provided teeth to take care of unruly behaviour on-board aircraft.
Through the early months of 2009 a spate of incidents involving unruly passengers running amok, were experienced on both domestic and international flights to India. Bangalore Aviation has consistently advocated the need for strong laws that bring perpetrators to bear the consequences of their misdeeds.
Finally cabin crews have been empowered and required to initiate action. In case you find a fellow passenger misbehaving, you know now the two rules under which they can be penalised. Let us look forward to some peaceful skies.