Travel briefs

 

Airlines

Carriers want stricter laws on unruly passengers

A drunken man gets tackled by a group of off-duty cops in November while trying to storm the cockpit on a flight from Warsaw to Toronto.

An inebriated passenger on a January flight from Iceland to New York tries to grope and choke fellow travelers until crew and passengers bind him with duct tape.

Such incidents are no longer flukes but rather a trend that has prompted airlines to call for new laws to deal with unruly passengers and other mayhem on international flights.

The number of incidents of unruly passengers has jumped from fewer than 500 in 2007 to more than 6,000 in 2011, according to the International Air Transport Association, the trade group for world airlines, which has been keeping track of the incidents.

In 1963, representatives from 185 countries met in Tokyo to adopt a set of laws that focused on onboard crimes related to hijacking. But the laws are outdated and do not address the kind of bedlam that some passengers provoke, delaying flights and fraying nerves, said Perry Flint, a spokesman for IATA.

For example, under the 1963 laws, the country where the plane is registered has legal jurisdiction over offenses on a plane. But today about 40 percent of commercial planes are leased, meaning the country where the plane is registered is not always the country where the airline is based.

A meeting has been scheduled for March by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a branch of the United Nations, to discuss new rules on how to deal with unruly passengers.

Research

Competition may cause delays

Conventional wisdom says that when competition increases, prices go down.

In the airline industry, something unexpected also happens when a low-cost carrier enters a market to challenge big network airlines.

According to a new study from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, increased competition from low-cost airlines seems to lower the on-time performance of the big airlines.

The report looked at what happened after low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines either entered or threatened to enter a market.

They found that Southwest’s competitors had a higher percentage of flights at least 15 minutes late. The rate of late flights jumped 3.2 percentage points.

Airports

Program may speed flow at MIA CUSTOMS

Federal and Miami-Dade County officials have finalized an agreement that allows the Miami-Dade Aviation Department to pay U.S. Customs and Border Protection for additional overtime staffing in Miami International Airport’s passport control and customs screening areas. MIA is one of only three U.S. hub airports chosen by CBP to participate in its Reimbursable Services pilot program.

The overtime reimbursement will be funded by MIA’s operating budget, which is supported entirely by Aviation Department revenue and tenant fees.

Miami Herald

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