The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has referred 37 unruly passengers to the FBI for potential criminal prosecution amid a sharp rise in onboard incidents in 2021, reports Reuters. The FAA and Justice Department said they had established an information-sharing protocol for the FAA to refer unruly passenger cases to the FBI for review.
U.S. airlines have reported a record number of disruptive and sometimes violent incidents this year, and the FAA has pledged a “zero tolerance” approach. The FAA and Justice Department said the “increased coordination is part of a broader effort to prevent dangerous unruly passenger incidents.” The agency has initiated 227 enforcement cases including those referred to the FBI for review. Through Nov. 1, 2021, there have been 5,033 reports of unruly passenger incidents, including 3,642 related to pandemic face covering regulations. A group representing major U.S. airlines, such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and United Airlines, as well as aviation unions, have asked the Justice Department to prosecute violent air passengers.