by Michael J. Shapiro | March 26, 2014
The International Air Transport Association is asking government officials around the world to close legal loopholes that make it possible for unruly air passengers to avoid punishment in many cases. This week a number of government representatives are gathering at the diplomatic conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization to review the terms of the Tokyo Convention. Specifically, the 1963 document gives jurisdiction over offenses committed onboard to the aircraft's state of registration, which often is neither the location of the flight's landing nor the home base of the carrier, which complicates the ability of law enforcement to prosecute crimes committed during flight. IATA supports the expansion of jurisdiction. "At the moment there are too many examples of people getting away with serious breaches of social norms that jeopardize the safety of flights, because local law enforcement authorities do not have the power to take action,” said Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and CEO. The ICAO, a United Nations Specialized Agency, is holding its diplomatic conference from March 26 to April 4 in Montréal.