London, Thursday, July 29, 1999: British Airways gave its full backing to the Government`s announcement today to introduce a new criminal offence against “air rage”.
Responding to calls from industry, led by British Airways, the Government has agreed to extend the Air Navigation Order, legislating against any passenger who “acts in a disruptive manner” towards crew.
Today`s move is the result of months of consultation prompted by Bob Ayling, British Airways` Chief Executive, who wrote last November to Dr John Reid, then Minister of Transport, calling for this measure to be introduced.
The new offence may be used against any person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words towards airline crew; behaves in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards crew; or intentionally interferes with the performance of crew.
David Hyde, British Airways` Director of Safety and Security, said: “We are delighted that the Government has listened to the airline industry and acted upon our advice. There can never be any excuse or justification for violence.
“When you are 35,000 feet in the air, violence threatens not only one person but hundreds of lives.
“Fortunately these incidents are rare, but they must be stopped and today`s announcement offers further protection to our staff and strengthens the power of the criminal justice system.”