Organisations operating within the Irish aviation industry have signed a joint declaration to tackle disruptive passenger behaviour on flights.
Some 13 key stakeholders and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) have pledged to work together to prevent and minimise the number of disruptive passenger incidents.
While an IAA 'Not On My Flight' campaign is highlighting the safety concerns around unruly behaviour.
Figures show disruptive passengers’ incidents increased by one-third between 2017 and 2018.
According to data published by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), every three hours the safety of a flight within the EU is threatened by passengers demonstrating unruly or disruptive behaviour.
At least once a month, the situation escalates to such a degree forcing the plane to perform an emergency landing.
And almost three-quarters of aviation safety incidents across the EU (72%) involve some form of physical aggression.
It says safety is compromised by unruly passengers on 1,000 flights in Europe per year, due to assaults and alcohol-related offenses.
The organisations who have signed the agreement are:
- Aer Lingus
- Dublin Airport
- Cork Airport
- Shannon Airport
- Ireland West Airport Knock
- Donegal Airport
- Kerry Airport
- The Commission for Aviation Regulation
- Stobart Air
- SAS Ireland
They will work together to promote a zero-tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour where safety is a risk; the identification, pre-emption, management and reporting of disruptive incidents; and the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol.
There will also be ongoing communication with passengers to continue to raise awareness of the risks associated with disruptive behaviour.
Participants from across the aviation industry have also discussed their concerns around disruptive passenger behaviour at the IAA’s industry forum, in advance of signing the declaration.
The IAA's head of corporate affairs, Paul Brandon, said there is growing concern at the increasing frequency and severity.
"Between 2017 and 2018, the number of reported incidents of disruptive passengers on board flights across Europe increased by a third.
"This is worrying as it shows an increasing trend and can have a direct impact on both the safety of crew and passengers.
"That's why the Irish Aviation Authority is collaborating with other organisations in the Irish aviation sector to put measures in place to reduce these incidents.
"Even though the number of unruly passengers is small considering the total number of people flying, the impact of their actions can have a disproportionate effect both on the smooth operation of the flight and more importantly on its safety."
In August this year, the IAA joined the international 'Not on My Flight' safety initiative - reminding passengers of their responsibilities to fellow travellers and flight crew, and to encourage passengers to be mindful of the negative impacts of unruly behaviour.
It is spearheaded by the EASA, and highlights examples of unruly behaviour on flights and consequences for passengers and crew.
Unruly behaviour can include intoxication, aggressive or inappropriate behaviour as well as not following the commands of flight crew.