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The Latest News From the IAA

Irish aviation industry launches campaign to tackle growing passenger misconduct

12 Jun 2024
As the peak travelling season begins, the Irish Aviation Authority, along with industry stakeholders are launching a declaration to combat unruly passenger behaviour in airports and on flights as part of the #NotOnMyFlight campaign. The safety of flights, passengers and crew can be affected by the unruly behaviour of a small minority of passengers. All Irish airlines and airports, An Garda Síochana, the Irish Aviation Authority, AirNav Ireland, ground handlers and international aviation organisations have all come together to tackle the issue of disruptive and dangerous behaviour, which affects passengers and staff almost every day of the year. 

There has been a 3-fold increase in passenger unruly behaviour reported between 2019 v 2023. Unruly behaviour can include intoxication, aggressive or inappropriate behaviour as well as not following the commands of flight crew, who are there to ensure passenger safety. The declaration sets out how the aviation industry aims to combat the issue of unruly behaviour on flights. The vast majority of passengers comply with instructions and show respect to staff and other passengers. 

However, the signatories of this Joint Declaration recognise the need to actively promote good passenger conduct due to the adverse impact that disruptive and unruly behaviour can have on the safety of a flight and passenger experience. The signatories of the joint declaration will not tolerate any behaviour that has the potential to disrupt the passenger experience, impact the safety of the cabin crew and airport staff or create a safety risk to the aircraft and those on board the flight. This includes physical and sexual assault, threatening and abusive behaviour and generally disruptive acts.

Jim Gavin, Chief Operations Officer of the Irish Aviation Authority said: 

“Flying should be an enjoyable and positive experience for passengers. Whilst incidents associated with unruly passenger behaviour occur on only a small number of flights, they can have a significant impact on flight crew, other passengers and even affect the safety of the flight. We want to remind passengers that their actions can have a direct impact on both the safety of crew and others on board an aircraft. We are facilitating this meeting today to look at how we as an aviation industry can address unruly behaviour on flights and put steps in place to ensure passengers and flight crew can have a safe and positive flying experience.” 

Angela Willis, Assistant Commissioner, DMR of An Garda Síochána welcomed the Declaration: 

“We all want to ensure that air travel is pleasant and most importantly safe for all users. While the vast majority of people that use air travel have the highest regard for fellow passengers, unfortunately there are a small minority whose behaviour at airports or on aircraft can have a significant impact on the experience and safety of other passengers or flight crew. An Garda Síochána is delighted to sign this declaration and to work with our partners to combat disruptive and dangerous behaviour which will not be tolerated.”

A Ryanair spokesperson said:

“Ryanair is pleased to support this Irish aviation industry declaration to combat unruly passenger behaviour on aircraft. The safety and wellbeing of our crew and passengers is Ryanair’s No.1 priority and we try to eradicate unruly behaviour onboard our aircraft. We will continue to work closely with An Garda Síochána, the IAA, Irish Airports and the wider aviation industry to eliminate all forms of unruly behaviour in airport terminals and onboard our aircraft.”

According to Kenny Jacobs, CEO of daa, the operator of Dublin and Cork airports: 

"We’ve great passengers at Dublin and Cork airports, but like every airport in the world there’s sometimes a few bad eggs whose behaviour impacts everyone. We want our airports to be enjoyable and stress-free for passengers and we're pleased to see the sector coming together to tackle the issue of unruly and dangerous behaviour. Everyone needs to play their part and daa will continue to work closely with our Airport Police teams, our airline partners and An Garda Síochána to ensure unruly passengers are dealt with and our airports are safe and enjoyable places for all."

Lynn Embleton, Chief Executive of Aer Lingus commented on the charter:

“At Aer Lingus we put safety first, there is nothing more important. We understand that a comfortable and respectful environment is key to ensuring your journey is a pleasant experience. Aer Lingus does not tolerate unruly behaviour of any kind, and in the rare cases where unruly behaviour does occur, we have strict measures in place to ensure that the safety and comfort of our customers and crew is maintained.”

Shannon Airport

"We are proud to join our colleagues across the aviation industry in launching the #NotOnMyFlight campaign. As we head into the peak travel season, it's essential that we address the increasing issue of unruly passenger behaviour head-on. By working together, we can ensure a safe and respectful environment for all passengers and staff. This declaration signifies our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of safety and comfort in airports and on flights," says Niall Kearns, Airport Director, Shannon Airport.

The declaration sets out an action plan for the Irish aviation industry to reduce the incidence of unruly passenger behaviour in airports and onboard aircraft. The signatories are meeting regularly and engaged on the topic, working together to prevent disruption and enhance enforcement. Specifically, the industry aims to boost its ability to ban passengers through no-fly lists, ensure Gardai are informed of all criminal activity, enhance training for cabin crew and improve communication to passengers to prevent unruly behaviour. 

Summertime is one of aviation’s busiest period. With millions of passengers travelling through Irish airports during this period, we are reminding people of their responsibilities when travelling on aircraft. We will not tolerate any behaviour that has the potential to disrupt the passenger experience, impact the safety of the cabin crew and airport staff or create a safety risk to the aircraft and those on board the flight. 

Signatories to the declaration: 
• Aer Lingus 
• AirNav Ireland 
• An Garda Siochana 
• CityJet 
• Cork Airport 
• Donegal Airport 
• Dublin Airport 
• Emerald Airlines 
• Fly4 Airlines
• Hibernian Airlines 
• Ireland West Airport 
• Irish Aviation Authority 
• Kerry Airport 
• Ryanair 
• SAS Scandinavian Airlines 
• Shannon Airport 
• Sky Handling Partner 
• Swissport