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IATA chief urges Korea to join unruly passengers agreement

The top executive of the International Air Transport Association encouraged South Korea to ratify an international agreement laying out the legal responsibilities following incidents with unruly passengers on flights.

“We encourage Korea to sign MP14,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac told reporters Monday at the 2017 IATA Safety and Flight Ops Conference ongoing at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. 
IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac speaks at the 2017 IATA Safety and Flight Ops Conference at the Grand Hyatt Seoul Monday. (IATA)
IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac speaks at the 2017 IATA Safety and Flight Ops Conference at the Grand Hyatt Seoul Monday. (IATA)

MP14 is the Montreal Protocol 2014, an agreement drawn up outlining the legal responsibilities and actions that can follow an in-flight incident with an unruly passenger. It has been ratified by around 30 countries, but Korea is not one of them yet.

The problem of unruly passengers, which has been consistently monitored by the IATA is on the rise, came to the forefront especially in Korea following a highly publicized incident on a Korean Air flight last December that involved an intoxicated passenger assaulting flight attendants.

According to de Juniac, it will be important for the IATA to address traditional safety issues like aircraft tracking and controlling unruly passengers while also preparing for new challenges.

“We have new challenges coming from three areas: security, cybersecurity, and new challenges of things in airspace that did not exist before,” de Juniac told The Korea Herald.

Concerns such as the possibility of hackers taking control of planes through newly developed control systems or hobby drones interfering with safe landings at airports are emerging as new challenges for the IATA, whose responsibility is to “design and implement global standards.”

Currently, the IATA is focusing its efforts on making aircraft tracking systems mandatory for its member airlines, and harmonizing drone regulations to create international standards.

Above all else, de Juniac said, it was important for relevant stakeholders to consult the IATA when creating standards that can affect the whole industry.

“We have the expertise,” he said. “It’s in their best interest.”

The 8th IATA Safety and Flight Ops Conference is ongoing at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, hosted by Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. It will run until Wednesday. 

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)
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