GENEVA, March 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is seeking tougher sanctions against in-flight brawlers, who often go unpunished because of legal gaps.
IATA has made this appeal in connection with a diplomatic conference of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which opens in Canadian Montreal on Wednesday. In order to achieve this goal, IATA that brings together about 240 carriers ensuring 84% of international air transportation, offers to amend the text of the Tokyo Convention of 1963 concerning crimes and some other actions on board a plane. According to experts, the main problem of the Convention is that offenses against the law on board fall only under the jurisdiction of the country where the plane is registered. However, taking into consideration the fact that about 40% of plane fleet of world carriers is on lease, it is not infrequent that the place of plane registration has nothing to do either with the country where the carrier itself is registered or the jurisdiction of the state where a forced landing was made. As a result, air hooligans go unpunished, while the carrier incurs losses, which are quite sizable sometimes.
According to IATA, a change of the flight route and a forced landing cost the carriers 10,000 to 200,000 dollars. With that in view, IATA suggests amendments to the convention which would deprive in-flight brawlers of any possibility to dodge responsibility. For this, it suggests broadening not only the jurisdiction of the state operating the plane and the country over which a crime was committed. It also suggests broader jurisdiction of the state of which the violator is a national, the country where the plane had to land, the country of the injured party and the state where the lawbreaker domiciles.
IATA began gathering statistics on air hooligans in 2007. According to the latest published data, 15,000 air hooliganism cases were registered between 2008 and 2011.