Unruly Passenger Incidents Have Increased Nearly 50% In 2022, One For 568 Flights: IATA Report

by Tejashee Kashyap
Unruly Passenger Incidents Have Increased Nearly 50% In 2022, One For 568 Flights: IATA Report

In recent years, there has been an increase in reported incidents of unruly passenger behaviour on flights worldwide. The reasons for such incidents can vary, but they pose a significant challenge to passengers, airlines and the aviation industry as a whole.  Recently,  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a new analysis that indicated that unruly passenger incidents had increased in 2022 compared to 2021.

Unruly Passenger Incidents Increased Considerably In 2022

Unruly Passenger Incidents
image credits: Canva

In response to the increase in unruly passenger incidents, airlines and regulatory authorities have been taking steps to address the issue. IATA reports, there was one unruly incident reported for every 568 flights in 2022. This is up from one per 835 flights in 2021.

But, what has caused this increase? Their report highlights that the most common categorisations of incidents in 2022 were non-compliance, verbal abuse and intoxication. Intoxication due to excessive alcohol consumption or drug use is a common factor in many unruly passenger incidents. Despite restrictions on serving alcohol on flights, some passengers may consume their own alcohol before or during the flight, leading to disruptive behaviour.

However, physical abuse incidents remain very rare, but these had an alarming increase of 61% over 2021, occurring once every 17,200 flights.

Also Read: IndiGo Expands Its Wings To Central Asia & Africa With 174 New International Flights By Sept

Unruly Passenger Incidents
image credits: Canva

Furthermore, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some incidents have been related to passengers refusing to comply with safety protocols, such as wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines.  Initially, these incidents fell after the pandemic.

However, the frequency of non-compliance incidents began to rise throughout 2022. The most common examples remained smoking cigarettes, not fastening seatbelts when instructed, exceeding the carry-on baggage allowance and consuming of own alcohol on board.

Although we all have a responsibility to behave with respect for other passengers and the crew, no one wants to stop people from having a good time on flights and holidays. And the numbers agree.

But, More Passengers Are Expected To Travel, Sighting Airline Industry Profit

Unruly Passenger Incidents
image credits: Canva

Another IATA report shows the soaring air industry profits doubled than last year, indicating an expected strengthening of airline industry profitability. The net profits of the airline industry could be $9.8 billion in 2023. Well, this is more than double the previous forecast of $4.7 billion as of December 2022. Even, the operating profits can go $22.4 billion in 2023. It is also more than double the $10.1 billion operating profit estimated for 2022.

Here are some of the key highlights from the IATA report:

  • Revenue is still expected to be the highest since 2019. This is along with the industry’s expense rate at an 8% annual increase.  The revenues are rising at 9.7% faster than expenses, strengthening profitability. While industry revenues are expected $803 billion in 2023, passenger revenues are expected $546 billion. Even, cargo revenues are expected to be $142.3 billion.
  • Although airline expenses are lesser than the revenue generated, they are expected to grow to $781 billion. Even, jet fuel costs are expected to average $98.5/barrel in 2023. They used to be $111.9 / barrel in December 2022.
  • Moreover, passenger volumes are recovering quickly, but the financial performance varies considerably across the regions. Overall, some 4.35 billion people are expected to travel in 2023. However, it used to be 4.54 billion in 2019, pre-pandemic.

But, the report also highlights that the improvement in the industry is susceptible to various risks. These factors are responsible: inflation-fighting measures, the war in Ukraine, broader geopolitical tension, supply chain issues and regulatory cost burdens.

The IATA’s recent poll of travellers in 11 global markets revealed that 81% appreciated the freedom of flying again.  Travellers feel that connectivity by air in most cities is critical for every nation and a necessity for modern life.

Cover image credits: Canva