A West Australian man allegedly caught with ammunition in his luggage and a group of travellers accused of an in-flight disturbance are among the incidents dealt with by Australian Federal Police at Perth Airport in recent weeks (December 2021).
AFP officers, with the assistance of detection dogs, have worked with aviation and airport staff to keep travellers and airport visitors safe in 2021 during what has remained a busy time for flights within WA and across Australia.
They have charged or issued infringements for a range of offences including carrying a prohibited weapon, travelling under false identification, failing to comply with cabin crew directions, smoking in an aircraft toilet and driving offences in the Airport precinct.
Australian airlines and airports, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the AFP have launched a new campaign to prevent disruptive behaviour at airports and on flights, following an increase in abusive behaviour towards airline crew.
Earlier this month, AFP officers met a Jetstar aircraft on its arrival at Perth from Brisbane, following reports from flight crew that several passengers had been abusive and causing a disturbance during the flight, refusing to comply with crew directions and not wearing their masks.
Nine people allegedly involved in the incident were questioned and their identification details checked.
Enquiries were also made with flight crew and other passengers before AFP officers identified four alleged ring-leaders.
The men – all from Queensland and aged 18, 22, 25 and 26 – will be issued $1110 infringements for failing to comply with safety instructions by cabin crew, contrary to section 91.580 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
Jetstar has implemented a 12-month ban on three of the men flying on all Jetstar and Qantas flights.
Just days later, AFP officers seized 13 live .303 rounds and another 10 casings from a 40-year-old man’s luggage before his departure on a flight to WA’s Pilbara.
The man, who allegedly did not have approval to travel with the ammunition, now faces a charge of unlicensed possession of ammunition.
AFP Acting Sergeant Kevin Shaw said illegal and dangerous behavior in the air will be prosecuted on the ground.
“There is no excuse for this type of behaviour on an aircraft or anywhere else – the AFP and our aviation partners will take action if people do not comply with legislation or other lawful requirements,” he said.
While the AFP has worked with WA Police Force to educate people about the requirements and importance of wearing masks during COVID and even supply masks, anyone who refuses to follow directions faces a financial penalty.
“Wearing masks is one of the mandated health directives aimed at keeping us all safe,” Acting Sergeant Shaw said.
“It is not only selfish but illegal for people to put their fellow travellers at risk by refusing to wear masks without a valid exemption.”