Russia Drastically Raises Penalties For ‘Air Hooliganism’
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Russia has upheld a proposal to increase fines for violent behaviour on board passenger aircraft and for those refusing to comply with the captain’s orders.
If the new bill is passed into law, the maximum fine for disobeying the captain’s orders would increase practically tenfold to 40,000 rubles or about US$645. The bill also introduces administrative detention for a period between 10 and 15 days as punishment for “air hooliganism” as well as fines between 30,000 and 50,000 rubles (US$483-$806) for petty disorderly behaviour on air transport.
The authors of the bill said they considered changes necessary because violent behaviour on air transport poses a great threat to society and also because inflation had made the existing fines too small.
They also pointed to the increase in the number of such incidents from about 7,200 in 2015 to about 8,000 in 2016 and said that the trend was too dangerous to be left unchallenged.
The only part of the draft that caused objections among members of the committee was the license to aircraft crews to confiscate “the medium containing photos and videos” from passengers who violate the onboard rules on taking photographs and recording video.
One of the MPs said that it would unjust if anyone who photographs “something beautiful” from the aircraft window had their phones seized. Representatives of the Justice ministry promised to make corrections to the document before the parliament starts its first hearing into it.
In June, Russia introduced a law making various acts of hooliganism connected with transport a criminal offense punishable by up to eight years in prison. The new bill also allows airline companies to create and use “blacklists” of citizens who can then be refused permission to board an aircraft because of their history of brawls or other violent behaviour.
Representatives of Aeroflot told reporters that their company already has such blacklist with 3,500 names on it.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.