Aviation

FAA chief: Rise in unruly passengers something ‘we should all be concerned about’

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The Federal Aviation Administration chief said that the rise in unruly passengers on airplanes is something “we should all be concerned about.”

“We have seen an alarming increase in the rate over the last few months, and it’s something that we need to get under control,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told ABC News.

“This is something that we should all be concerned about,” Dickson added.

There were more than 350 cases of violations by unruly passengers that were found by the FAA among the over 1,300 cases that were reported, according to ABC News.

“In a typical year the agency will end up taking this type of enforcement action in about 100 to 160 enforcement cases so it’s nothing new,” Dickson said. “What really is new is the volume that we’re seeing right now.”

The FAA has extended its zero-tolerance policy until September, which means passengers can face jail time and a $35,000 fine for physically assaulting or threatening passengers or crew members on a flight.

Dickson said fines were in the “very early stages” when asked if an unruly passenger has paid fines for their behavior yet.

“The first few cases are still, still in process,” Dickson told ABC News. “So we’re not quite to that point yet.”

Dickson said it is possible for the zero-tolerance policy to be extended if needed. 

The rise in cases comes after airlines were hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Airlines are finally starting to see an increase in travel amid vaccinations and states lifting restrictions.

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