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Monday, November 2, 1998 Published at 12:50 GMT


Air passenger blacklist ready for take-off

Unruly air passengers could face sanctions

Pressure for a database of unruly and violent airline passengers was being stepped up on Monday following an attack on an air hostess.

Airtours crew member Fiona Weir, 31, arrived back in Britain on Sunday and spoke of her ordeal.

[ image: Mrs Weir says she will not quit her job]
Mrs Weir says she will not quit her job
On Monday, Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson, who has already spoken out in favour of a database, meets the Airtours Aviation Chairman Mike Lee to outline plans for more definite action within the industry.

The discussions take place on the same day that former Stone Roses rock star Ian Brown lost an appeal against his conviction and four-month prison sentence for using threatening behaviour on board an aircraft.

The 35-year-old was jailed after magistrates in Manchester heard that he had told an air stewardess he would chop her hands off. He also banged on the flight deck door as the pilot brought the plane into land.

British Airways, with whom Mr Brown was flying, recently introduced a 'yellow card' scheme in which unruly passengers are given a written warning about their behaviour by cabin crew.

Airtours present plans on Tuesday

Airtours has said it will urgently consult with police, the Civil Aviation Authority and government transport officials to get their backing for the database idea.

[ image: Richard Branson has backed plans for a database]
Richard Branson has backed plans for a database
The company plans to present its ideas to the UK Flight Safety Committee which has representatives from all of Britain's airlines.

An Airtours International spokesperson said: "We have been calling for a database since January when there was an incident with a chap standing up as a plane came into land at Luton.

"But the attack on Fiona Weir was clearly far worse and the idea is now gathering momentum with Richard Branson, and I hope other airlines, supporting us.

"What happened on Friday's flight to Malaga was an unfortunate incident but perhaps some good may come out of it if this database is set up."

Mrs Weir's alleged attacker, 37-year-old Steven Handy of Dover, Kent, has been released from custody by Spanish magistrates and conditionally bailed by the court on charges of assault and endangering an aircraft .

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