An El Al Airlines flight to Frankfurt was delayed by 90 minutes today when two Israeli passengers holding tourist class tickets sat in business class seats. They refused to give up the seats, and the incident became violent. The crew had to summon the police to take the passengers off the plane.
The other passengers also pay a price in such cases. When passengers are removed from a plane, their baggage must be located and taken off the plane with them. In this case, the airliner had already left its parking bay, and had to taxi back in order to get rid of the unruly passengers.
Other El Al flights operated by its Sun d'Or subsidiary also experienced delays today. A flight to Budapest was moved from 6:45 AM to 11:30 AM, a flight to Naples was delayed from 7:30 AM to 00:50 PM, a flight to Kharkov was moved from 8:00 AM to 1:40 PM, and a flight to Batumi was delayed from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM.
El Al said in response, "Unfortunately, technical malfunctions caused delays in a number of Sun d'Or's flights this morning. Sun d'Or is doing everything possible to minimize the delays in order to provide an optimal solution and make the takeoffs as early as possible. In addition, an El Al flight was delayed in order to take off some of the passengers. We apologize for the unpleasantness caused to our customers."
Disturbances caused by passengers on flights is something that the civil aviation sector takes seriously. The number one cause of disturbances by passengers on a plane is excess consumption of alcohol. According to figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the incidence of such disturbances is diminishing (although this could be explained by airlines choosing not to report them), but the frequency of cases classified as very serious, meaning that they pose a threat to the crew or the passengers, or jeopardize lives (referred to as grade 3 and grade 4), is increasing. The phenomenon is especially prevalent in the UK.
IATA says that there was one disturbance per 1,053 flights in 2017, compared with one disturbance per 1,424 flights in the preceding year. IATA began compiling data on flight disturbances in 2007, and has since received 66,000 reports from airlines. Not all airlines report incidents, so the real incidence is probably higher. British Airways recently had to take passengers off a flight when they declared their intention of blowing up the plane. Even if it was an especially bad joke, the airline decided not to take a chance, and the passengers were taken off the plane at Ben Gurion Airport at the instruction of company headquarters in London.
A campaign in preparation for the summer called "One Too Many" has been launched in London to remind passengers of the consequences of creating in-flight disturbances: being taken off the plane and a fine of up to £80,000 or a prison term. Another campaign entitled "Not On My Flight" asks European airlines to notify passengers of the rules for responsible behavior on flights, including with respect to smoking and excessive drinking. Another global measure taken to reduce the violent incidents on flights is through the Montreal Protocol (MP14), which 20 countries have joined so far, most recently Turkey, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan. This convention requires countries to take legal action against flight offenders landing in their territory.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 1, 2019
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