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The BBC's Simon Montague
"Most countries have no jurisdiction over incidents on foreign aircraft"
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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 01:14 GMT 02:14 UK
Call for air rage treaty
British Airways airliner
Britain introduced new air rage laws last year
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is backing a campaign by transport unions around the world for a fight against air rage.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is calling on governments to introduce tougher laws to deal with the problem by the end of 2002.

Not only are these incidents an affront to airline workers and passengers, but, at worst, they threaten aircraft safety

John Prescott
It is pressing for an international treaty to ensure that all countries follow a common procedure to enforce the law against offenders.

Last year, the UK Government created a new offence of "acting in a disruptive manner" - a move designed specifically to protect the interests of cabin crew.

But, unlike the UK, most countries do not have jurisdiction over incidents that happen on other countries' aircraft.

Mr Prescott said he fully supported the ITF's call and said the UK would work closely with other countries to achieve the treaty.

"I take the issue of air rage extremely seriously. Not only are these incidents an affront to airline workers and passengers, but, at worst, they threaten aircraft safety," he said.

The ITF wants governments to have in place, or nearly in place, by the end of 2002, laws which give their police forces and courts the power to prosecute all incidents which occur on any flight from any country which lands in their territory.

In addition, an international convention under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation should be ready for all governments to sign by the end of 2003.

"This campaign is a wake-up call. It is only a matter of time before one of these incidents causes a major disaster," said ITF assistant general secretary Stuart Howard.

Under UK laws introduced in 1999, disruptive passengers face up to two years in jail or a 2,000 fine.

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01 Apr 99 | UK
Spotlight on air rage
27 Jul 99 | UK Politics
Crackdown on air rage
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