• Policy

Unruly Passengers

The Tokyo Convention of 1963 gives jurisdiction over offenses committed onboard aircraft to the state of registration of the aircraft. There were loopholes in the convention that allow unruly passengers to escape law enforcement for serious offences committed on board aircraft.


ICAO held a Diplomatic Conference late March 2014 in Montreal. More than 100 governments attended and adopted a Protocol that amends Tokyo Convention. The new protocol significantly improves the ability of ICAO member states to expand jurisdiction over related offenses to the state of the operator and the state of landing.  The agreed changes give greater clarity to the definition of unruly behavior (such as including the threat of or actual physical assault, or refusal to follow safety-related instructions). The changes will come into force when 22 states ratify the protocol.


AACO has joined IATA and other airline associations in adopting a joint position paper urging states to prioritize the ratification, acceptance or accession to the Montreal Protocol 2014. In particular the parties of the joint position paper urged states to:

  • Prioritize the ratification of the 'Protocol to amend the Convention on Offences and Certain other Acts Committed on board Aircraft' (Montreal Protocol 2014).
  • Consider the adoption or amendment of supporting domestic legislation to secure the proper activation of jurisdictional and prosecution powers using ICAO Circular 288 as a guide.
  • Raise public awareness of the consequences of failing to follow crew instructions or commit unruly behavior.

Please click here to download the full version of the joint position paper.


AACO 47th AGM agreed unanimously on its Resolution 6/2014 on Unruly Passengers, which called for three main points that help in empowering governments to prosecute unruly passengers on board flights.


AACO and IATA also wrote joint individual letters to the Directors General of the Arab CAAs highlighting the benefits of the new Protocol to governments, airlines, and passengers alike, and urging the DG CAAs to lobby with their governments to adopt the new Protocol.


On the other hand, AACO, joined by IATA, coordinated with the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC) to have the issue discussed at the ACAC level as well.


Lastly, the Arab Transport Ministers, in their 27th term in 2014, urged the Arab states to join Montreal Protocol 2014.


AACO worked on a campaign that involved communication between Arab airlines and the relevant ministries in their states in order to advocate for the ratification of Montreal Protocol 2014.
In February 2016, Bahrain ratified the Protocol.
In June 2016, Jordan ratified the protocol. 
Hence two out of the six states that have ratified the protocol so far are Arab states. 




Last updated on 19 August 2016

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