Zero Tolerance for Air Rage - Ensuring Safety in the Skies

Transport Canada has taken a leadership role in working to reduce incidents of air rage and increase safety in the skies. What is air rage? Any sort of disruptive behaviour or interference with crew members that jeopardizes the safety of the flight.

How prevalent is it? Evidence gathered to this point by airlines and the government suggests that air rage is not widespread, although recent attention to the issue is giving it more public prominence. Transport Canada is changing its regulations to make it mandatory for airlines to report incidents of air rage.

What causes air rage? The causes are many, and could include excessive alcohol consumption and psychological factors related to travel or stress.

Managing air rage

One of the first steps in dealing with unruly passenger behaviour that jeopardizes safety is to raise public awareness that interference with crew members is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. That's why Transport Canada and its partners in the air industry launched the world's first campaign to get the word out to the traveling public by providing material such as posters and ticket stuffers to air operators and travel agents across Canada.

On May8, 2001, Transport Canada distributed a booklet entitled, Unruly Passengers: The Police Response, an information guide for airline staff in Canada, to air operators and airline employees. Originally produced by the Peel Regional Police and the Ottawa Police Service, the booklet outlines how the judicial process works and the role of law enforcement regarding air rage.

A special working group led by Transport Canada, that included representatives from industry, labour and law enforcement agencies, issued a report making recommendations on how to combat and limit future incidents of unruly behaviour.

Transport Canada is taking action to implement the report's recommendations in its areas of responsibility, including changes to the Aeronautics Act to make it a criminal offence to interfere with a crew member's duties, and to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) to require mandatory crew training on how to prevent and manage incidents. The government is also working with Canada's aviation industry to improve policies and procedures in this area.

Safety in the skies is a top priority for Transport Canada, and it will continue to monitor the situation and take action to improve safety.

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