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A Jet2 aircraft taxis past British Airways aircraft at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in west London March 21, 2010. Last week, Jet2 banned six passengers after a drunken incident on a flight from Newcastle to Tenerife. (© Toby Melville / Reuters)
A Jet2 aircraft taxis past British Airways aircraft at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in west London March 21, 2010. Last week, Jet2 banned six passengers after a drunken incident on a flight from Newcastle to Tenerife. (© Toby Melville / Reuters)

‘We’re having to be bouncers’: More problem passengers flying, industry says Add to ...

More deterrents are needed to deal with the rising number of incidents involving disruptive passengers aboard planes, according to the global airline industry’s trade association.

Reports of unruly passenger incidents on board aircraft increased to 10,854 last year, up from 9,316 in 2014, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.

That equals one incident for every 1,205 flights, compared with one in every 1,282 flights.

“The increase in reported incidents tells us that more effective deterrents are needed,” IATA director-general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said.

“Unruly and disruptive behaviour is simply not acceptable. The anti-social behaviour of a tiny minority of customers can have unpleasant consequences for the safety and comfort of all aboard.”

Last week, airline Jet2 banned six passengers after a drunken incident on a flight from Newcastle, U.K., to Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands, involving allegedly “illicit alcohol,” bought before boarding the plane.

Jet2 had previously said it backs a government inquiry into how alcohol is sold at airports and called for duty-free spirits to be sold in sealed bags.

The number of what are considered air rage episodes in Great Britain has quadrupled to 386 dangerous incidents last year from 85 in 2013, according to the BBC.

Incidents include passengers getting into brawls and one traveller trying to open a plane door in mid-flight.

One cabin crew member told the broadcaster: “Now we’re getting to the point where we’re having to be bouncers.”

IATA said in its report that the majority of incidents reported in 2015 involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of “anti-social behaviour.”

A “significant proportion (11 per cent) of reports indicated physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to the aircraft.”

Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified in 23 per cent of cases, but the “vast majority” of these instances involved the consumption of alcohol or drugs before boarding or from “personal supply without knowledge of the crew.”

Among measures that can be taken to reduce unruly behaviour are the training of staff in airport bars and duty-free shops so that alcohol is served and sold responsibly, IATA said.

There is also “a need to avoid offers that encourage so-called ‘binge drinking.’”

Adopting a co-operative voluntary approach on the part of industry players and governments is preferable to “heavy-handed regulation and licensing.”

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