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Russia prepares measures against drunken debauchees onboard airplanes

July 11, 2013, 16:13 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, July 11 (Itar-Tass) - How to avert debauches of drunken passengers of the airliners that put under threat security and life of people? - This question is being actively discussed in Russia after several resounding scandals in the air. The Russian authorities have drafted legislative initiatives, which toughen the criminal punishment and should put a bridle on drunken hooligans. The proposals are being made to introduce a full ban on taking alcoholic drinks onboard. The proposals stirred up heated debates, but one thing is clear that tough measures ripened.

The passengers, who are kicking up a rumpus onboard the airplane, will be imprisoned for five years, if the relevant bill, which the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reports about on Thursday, is enacted. The bill should be submitted in the State Duma within a few several days.

The hooligans will be also put on the black list that will empower the air companies not to sell the tickets to them. The sanctions are envisaged for ‘petty dirty tricks’. The administrative responsibility will be toughened and the fines will be set from 2,500 to 5,000 roubles for these offences.

Meanwhile, back in April the Transport Ministry put up for debates the bill, which permits all crewmembers to use the physical force to the air passengers, who violate the rules of conduct onboard the airplane. To curb the troublemakers, who threaten the safety of the flight, it is offered to permit the use of plastic handcuffs and electric shockers.

Now only the commander of the flight has the right to use all necessary measures, but he should not leave the cockpit under any circumstances.

In most cases the violation of aviation safety onboard the airplane is caused by the abuse of alcoholic drinks. From 2009 to 2012, over 2,000 similar offences were reported during the flights of two leading Russian air carriers.

From the beginning of this year several high-profile incidents with debauching passengers have already occurred during the flights of the Russian air companies. For instance, in early January businessman from Saratov Sergei Kabalov staged a hellbender onboard the airplane of the air company Kogalymavia en route from Moscow to Hurghada.

On January 22, three drunken passengers fanned up a row onboard the Ufa-Hurghada airplane, when the airliner was getting ready for a takeoff. When the police tried to remove the debauchees from the airplane, a hooligan attacked the policemen.

In early February, the Aeroflot airliner en route from Moscow to the Phuket Island, Thailand, had to land in Tashkent over the debauch, which businessman from Podolsk Vyacheslav Ismailov instigated. He was heavily drunken and began to bother the crew and other passengers.

On February 20, several passengers have boozed and provoked a debauch onboard the airliner en route from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Moscow at the approach to Moscow.

Last April, the airliner Boeing-767 en route from Moscow to Shanghai that was carrying over 300 people has made an emergency landing in Novosibirsk. During the flight two men, who used the alcoholic beverages, engaged in a conflict that grew into a brawl.

These resounding cases became the last straw that broke the camel’s back of the authorities and the air carriers and they began to put forward the initiatives, which are aimed to settle this problem. In particular, the State Duma deputies raised the question of a legislative ban to bring the alcoholic drinks, which were bought at the duty-free shops, onboard the airplane.

Aeroflot Director General Vitaly Savelyev noted that the air carrier has its own black list of debauchees. As many as 1,821 people, who behave badly on the Aeroflot flights, were put on the black list. He supported the legalization of the black lists of troublemakers.

“I am sure that the black lists common for all air companies in Russia and big fines are a correct decision. In addition, the onboard debauch cases should be shifted from the sphere of administrative offences in criminal offences,” the Aeroflot general director said on his Twitter page.

Savelyev noted that in 2012 alone 490 incidents with the passengers, who violated the rules of conduct onboard the airplanes, were reported on the Aeroflot flights.

Head of the analytical department Aviaport Oleg Panteleyev, who is cited by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily, believes that a tougher punishment for drunken hooligans will not bring any special success. The expert believes that it is more efficient to restrict alcohol drinking onboard the airplane. One more way out from a problematic situation can be a ban to pass drunken passengers onboard the airplane.

As for the black lists of the air passengers, in any case, in his view, these lists should be maintained by the law enforcement agencies or public organizations, but not the Federal Air Transport Agency, as the authors of the bill offer. Meanwhile, the debauchees should be put on the black lists under the court verdicts, and the information about such hooligan passengers should not be in the general access to observe the requirements of the legislation on personal data, Oleg Panteleyev believes.

President of the Russian Public Health Association Andrei Demin agreed with the foresaid opinion, “It is possible to take easier measures - just not to sell the alcohol at the airports before the flights. Then it will be not needed to put a person in prison, because only those, who have the alcohol drinks from the duty-free shops, are permitted to get onboard today.”

“You are welcome, we can buy it, but you should check it in as luggage during the flight boarding. When you get off the airplane, you will receive everything intact,” he underlined. The expert finds it wrong to sentence the debauchees to five years in prison.