NL signing deal to jail problematic plane passengers in foreign countries

Airplane arriving at Schiphol Airport
Airplane arriving at Schiphol AirportPhoto: Schiphol/Twitter

On January 1st, new international regulations come into effect that should make it easier to prosecute travelers who put airplane safety in danger in the country where they are put off the plane. A total of 22 countries have signed the new treaty, called the Montreal Protocol. The Netherlands is currently ratifying it, the Telegraaf reports.

According to world aviation organization IATA, up to 60 percent of problem passengers currently escape punishment for endangering air safety because there were no legal means to prosecute drunk, high, or aggressive passengers put off a foreign aircraft in the country where they were put off. After five years of hard work, this new treaty should significantly lower this percentage, IATA expects

According to the Dutch Inspectorate for Living Environment and Transport, the number of serious incidents aboard planes again increased sharply this year. "With Dutch airlines alone, there are more than a thousand reports per 500 thousand flights, half of which are serious offenses. The number of incidents almost doubled since 2015", a spokesperson said to the Telegraaf. 

A quarter of incidents aboard planes involve passengers secretly smoking in the toilet, according to the newspaper. A quarter involves alcohol intoxication. The rest are related to drug use, misconduct, mental confusion, fights with other passengers or crew members, or the use of weapons on board. Any of these behaviors can result in the captain giving the passenger a "notice of violation". If the passenger remains unmanageable, they will be handcuffed and handed over to the police once the plane landed. Sometimes this means an unplanned stopover. 

The Dutch union for cabin crew VNC is pleased with this new treaty. "The Montreal Protocol is an important step. There is often a lack of clarity about who is responsible for the prosecution, while the number of incidents is constantly increasing. We mainly see that on holiday flights and with budget airlines", VNC chairman Annette Groeneveld said to the newspaper.