Cases of disruption caused by passengers behaving badly on flights to or from Spanish airports has increased significantly over the last two years. It is becoming more common for planes to have to be diverted because of disruptive behaviour, according to the Spanish State Air Safety Agency, Aesa.
Malaga is fourth on the list of Spanish airports after Alicante, Madrid and Mallorca in terms of the number of incidents recorded. Statistics from Aesa show that there were 105 altercations on flights operating to or from the Costa del Sol last year, out of a total of 862 registered in Spain.
Most of the problems are on planes carrying large numbers of tourists and the majority of passengers causing trouble are under the influence of alcohol and fail to comply with the rules or refuse to follow the instructions of the cabin crew, who are responsible for safety on flights.
In the most extreme cases the pilot has to decide whether to divert the aircraft to the nearest airport. If that happens, the traveller causing the problem has to pay the cost of the diversion.
Between 2017 and the first quarter of this year, Aesa fined 729 people a total of 580,300 euros. Sources at Aesa say they have not experienced any problems about payment so far, and people have the right to appeal against the fine.
Aesa warns that the incidence of dangerous behaviour is on the increase. Last year there were 862 such incidents, compared with 549 in 2017.
Video shown in UK
In 2018 the agency decided to release a video as a preventive measure, alerting passengers to the consequences of inappropriate behaviour during flights. The video makes the point that fooling around can prove expensive, with fines of up to 5,000 euros being imposed in addition to the cost of diverting a plane to another airport.
In general, the country with the most disruptive passengers is the UK, followed by Spain and Germany. However, in the case of planes using Malaga airport, there were more incidents caused by Spanish citizens, with the British second on the list.
The video to raise awareness of the consequences of dangerous behaviour can be found in Spanish and English on Aesa's website, and it is also being shown in the UK, which is the country with the highest number of passengers fined for unruly behaviour: 196 in 2017.
The video has also been shared with the authorities in other European countries with whom Aesa collaborates, specifically the member countries of the European Air Safety Agency (Easa) working group on disruptive passengers.