The head of corporate affairs for the Irish Aviation Authority has said that banning alcohol on flights could be considered as a means to reduce the level of incidents of disruptive passenger behaviour on flights.
Paul Brandon said that it is accepted that alcohol is a contributory factor in a large number of incidents, but the initial focus of the new campaign ‘Not On My Flight’ will be to raise awareness of the actions that will be taken against disruptive passengers.
When asked on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland if aviation authorities would consider banning alcohol on flights, Mr Brandon said: “We will see if there is a need for further action.
It is absolutely on the table, but our preference is to focus on the awareness of the risk if they disrupt a flight.
On Tuesday, 13 organisations operating within the Irish aviation sector, including Aer Lingus, Ryanair, the country’s main airports, and the Commission for Aviation Regulation, signed a joint declaration, committing to tackling disruptive passenger behaviour on flights.
Disruptive passengers' incidents increased by a third in one year (2017-2018) and at least once a month the situation escalates to such a degree forcing the aircraft to perform an emergency landing.
“Safety is the priority of the IAA,” added Mr Brandon. “Flying should be a pleasurable experience. We are asking passengers to be aware of the disciplinary consequences.
“Disruptions can be very distressing for other passengers and for the flight crew.”
On the same programme, Ruth Thewlis of the Academy of Aviation which provides training for airport passenger services and cabin crew, said that training was of vital importance for flight crew and for ground crew.
Any campaign for dealing with disruptive passengers must include training so crews will know what to do, she said.
Mr Brandon said that further forums will be held to expand the campaign and that “anyone who can help will be brought into the tent.”
The 13 organisations that signed the joint declaration pledged to promote:
- A zero-tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour where safety is a risk
- The identification, pre-emption, management and reporting of disruptive incidents
- The responsible sale and consumption of alcohol
- Ongoing education and communication with passengers to continue to raise awareness of the risks associated with disruptive behaviour.
The signing of the joint declaration is part of the Irish Aviation Authority’s ‘Not On My Flight’ campaign.
The campaign highlights examples of unruly behaviour on flights, and the consequences for passengers and crew. Unruly behaviour can include intoxication, aggressive or inappropriate behaviour as well as not following the commands of flight crew, who are there to protect passenger safety.