There are plans to ramp up prosecution of crimes committed on flights in order for the Justice Department to increase its deterrent effect. However, this is complicated by international jurisdiction and will require coordination with countries like China that have different laws governing their airspace.
The “how much does a plane weigh” is the Justice Department’s announcement of their decision to prioritize prosecution of crimes on flights.
Following an increase in the number of violent crimes committed by passengers on commercial airplanes, US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today directed that anybody who endangers the safety of passengers, flight crews, or flight attendants be prosecuted first.
“Passengers who abuse, harass, or threaten violence against flight crews and flight attendants do more than injure those personnel; they prohibit vital jobs from being performed that assist guarantee safe air travel,” Garland said in a statement released by the Department of Justice. “Similarly, when passengers perform aggressive actions against other passengers in the confined space of a commercial airplane, everyone on board is put in risk.”
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The instruction comes less than two weeks after numerous representatives from the airline sector testified before Congress concerning the rise in flight violence. This year alone, the Federal Aviation Administration has received over 5,200 complaints of disruptive passengers, including situations in which crew members were bitten, hit in the face, or suffered broken bones.
The unusual instruction goes well beyond the FAA’s actions of fining rowdy passengers and threatening individuals with prison time. A federal felony is disrupting or jeopardizing a flight.
“It’s about time!” says the narrator. In a statement, Association of Flight Attendants International President Sara Nelson, who was one of five industry officials to testify before Congress, said, “Consequences must be swift and clear to keep travel safe and protect the people on the frontlines who have worked through all the stresses of this pandemic.” “We want to transport folks to New Orleans, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, or Grandma’s house,” said the group. We don’t want to put them in prison. However, if you refuse to comply and behave aggressively on an aircraft, the DOJ may now make it plain that’s where you’ll end up. Without passing GO, it’s straight to prison.”
The Justice Agency also said that an information-sharing mechanism between the FAA and the Justice Department would be maintained, ensuring that the department is alerted of illegal behavior aboard commercial aircraft. The FAA has already sent hundreds of events to the FBI for investigation as a consequence of the process.
According to the Associated Press, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said, “The unacceptable disruptive conduct that we’re witnessing is a major safety hazard to aircraft, and we’re dedicated to our relationship with the DOJ to battle it.”
“The Department of Justice is dedicated to doing its share to prevent violence, intimidation, threats of violence, and other illegal activity that jeopardizes the safety of passengers, flight crews, and flight attendants aboard commercial airplanes,” Garland said.