AFP warns of ‘air rage’ among passengers at Australian airports

Editor’s note: Images of items seized at Australian airports are available via Hightail

AFP warns passengers that offensive, violent and disruptive behavior, including incidents of “air rage”, will not be tolerated in the air or on the ground, as passenger numbers increase during the busy school holiday period.

The passenger behavior warning comes as AFP officers increase patrols at Australian airports as part of the school holiday travel period, ensuring all passengers depart and arrive safely at their destinations of travel.

Over the past seven months, AFP has responded to 748 incidents of public disorder, drunkenness and offensive behavior at its airports.

In addition, AFP officers reported 746 incidents of passengers carrying contraband, seizing potential weapons including credit card knives and cartridges of ammunition concealed from passengers.

AFP officers also reported a tendency for passengers to create public disorder resulting in ‘air rage’ due to missed flights, travel delays and baggage issues, as well as incidents of violent behavior outside terminals involving disputes over taxis or ride-sharing vehicles.

AFP Commander Peter Bodel said AFP is committed to supporting airport staff and ensuring all travelers have a safe journey from departure to arrival at their destination .

“Airport staff are trained to streamline security processes and ensure everyone has a safe flight. It is disappointing that a small number of passengers show violent or abusive behavior towards people trying to do their jobs, so we urge passengers to do the right thing.

Commander Bodel recognized the vital role the public has played in working with the police to keep the community safe, including in the aviation environment.

“We encourage passengers and airport staff to review Airport Watch and know the signs when something is wrong,” Commander Bodel said.

“We urge travelers to keep their eyes and ears open as they embark on their journeys, not just during these school holidays, but whenever they go to the airport.”

From March to September 2022, AFP recorded incidents at all major airports concerning:

• Transport of prohibited items

• Intoxication or offensive behavior

• Public unrest

• Incidents related to assault

• Smoking in unauthorized areas

Airport Watch complements AFP’s existing capabilities, which include community policing and counter-terrorism first response capability, air security officers, joint intelligence teams and bomb assessment officers, and police dogs. detection of firearms and explosives.

The maximum penalty for unruly behavior on board an aircraft is a fine of $9,000 (Section 256AA Civil Aviation Regulations -1988) and for obstructing crew or aircraft is 2 years imprisonment (Section 24 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988).

If you need a police presence at an airport, or would like to report an incident or provide information, please call AFP’s Airport Watch on 131 AFP (131 237).

Incidents at Australian airports:

Offense

melbourne

sydney

Brisbane

Perth

Adelaide

Golden Coast

Cairns

Canberra

Darwin

Wear prohibited items

218

184

138

75

60

43

6

14

8

Intoxication or offensive behavior

30

36

18

1

2

5

2

4

22

Public unrest

195

167

61

72

52

50

5

8

18

Assault Incidents

18

17

4

6

1

seven

0

2

3

Smoking in unauthorized areas

12

42

8

5

3

11

2

6

1

Media inquiries:

AFP media: (02) 5126 9297

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