Media Release: AFP detains disruptive passenger on international flight

Release Date: Friday, July 05 2013, 10:15 AM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is warning airline passengers of the consequences of behaving inappropriately on commercial aircraft following an incident on a flight from Sydney to the Philippines yesterday evening.

A 33-year-old Australian man was detained by AFP Air Security Officers on a flight to Manila after he allegedly attempted to access the cockpit of the aircraft approximately two and a half hours into the flight.

It will be alleged that the man engaged in abusive conduct toward the flight service crew, after which he ran to the front of the aircraft and attempted to open the cockpit door.

The man was restrained by Air Security Officers on board the aircraft with assistance from the crew. The captain made the decision to continue on to Manila, where the man was handed into the custody of Philippine authorities.

AFP National Manager Aviation, Shane Connelly, highlighted how abusive behaviour posed a danger to passengers and crew alike.

"Distracting the pilots of a commercial aircraft carrying approximately 400 passengers and flying at an altitude of 10,000 metres is a very real threat to the safe operation of that aircraft," Assistant Commissioner Connelly said.

"If the cockpit had been breached, the consequences could have been disastrous. Such behaviour on flights involving an Australian destination or origin cannot -and will not - be tolerated by airlines and the AFP.

"While the aircraft was not endangered during this incident, we want to use it to remind people that harassment or violence directed toward airline staff and fellow passengers is against the law and the AFP will not hesitate to take action against those who commit these offences."

The man was detained by authorities in Manila, where he is expected to face legal proceedings under Philippine law.

The AFP operates an Air Security Officer program, where members fly on selected domestic and international flights to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333