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Swissair unveils measures to combat air rage

Swissair flight attendants are to be given handcuffs to restrain unruly passengers

(Keystone)

The national airline, Swissair, is to implement new security procedures to deal with troublesome passengers following a sharp rise in incidences of air rage.

Swissair's head of security, Werner Schaub, told swissinfo that, from January 1, all planes would carry plastic handcuffs to restrain passengers who pose a safety threat.

He said Swissair flight personnel would also receive the full backing of the airline if they struck a passenger in self-defence. "If a flight attendant is attacked physically or sexually by a passenger, we would accept and support their right to strike back."

Schaub said Swissair had also considered carrying pepper spray on board its flights to restrain unruly passengers but dismissed this option as too excessive.

The phenomenon of air rage has been rising sharply in recent years. Last year, Swissair recorded 502 incidents, compared to 285 in 1996, a rise of 76 per cent. Schaub said he expected even more incidents for the year 2000.

Over the same period, passenger numbers rose by 55 per cent to 14 million.

As to the causes of air rage, Schaub said most incidences of air rage stemmed from too much alcohol, and passengers wanting to smoke.

However, he said there were no plans to stop serving alcohol on flights.

He added that being crowded into a confined space also made passengers irritable and more likely to become unruly.

swissinfo


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