New Treaty to Deal With Disruptive Passengers Goes Into Effect

A notable new international treaty to better prosecute unruly airline passengers has one notable exception.

The United States.

Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14) went into effect on Jan. 1. Among other things, it gives greater latitude to countries to deal with disruptive passengers on international flights by including the country where the flight is scheduled to land, not just the country from where the flight originated.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) noted that the new treaty strengthens prosecution efforts, as previously some 60% of cases went un-prosecuted because the country where the flight landed had no legal authority.

“The treaty is in force,” IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said, according to Travel Weekly. “But the job is not done. We encourage more [nation] states to ratify MP14 so that unruly passengers can be prosecuted according to uniform global guidelines.”

There are legitimate reasons, however, that the U.S. declined to participate.

Travel Weekly surmised that the U.S. has concerns about whether the new treaty undermines the role that federal marshals play on planes. According to the treaty, ratifying countries aren’t required to allow in-flight security services from other countries to operate in their territories.

It also says that in cases in which parties have entered into bilateral or multilateral agreements to allow for the deployment of in-flight security, an officer may initiate preventive measures only when there are grounds to believe that doing so is “immediately necessary” to protect the safety of passengers or the aircraft.

Federal Air Marshal Service spokesman Thomas Kelly told TW that MP14 won’t have an impact on the ability of the TSA to deploy air marshals.

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