PHOENIX — Sky Harbor has had to call the police 3,000 times to deal with unruly passengers at the airport in the last year.
Airport officials confirmed the number after Congressman Greg Stanton (D-AZ) cited them during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing about passenger violence on Thursday.
“Many of the incidents we have seen reported have been on planes while in flight, but we are also witnessing disruptions within our airports," Stanton said during the hearing.
Sky Harbor officials said the unruly passenger calls can be broken down into general categories of "disruptive":
- Mask compliance where people were advised of the federal mandate and still did not comply
- Interference with flight crews and airline personnel at the gate
- Assaults such as pushing and shoving between travelers or upon workers
- Domestic disputes
- Erratic or suspicious behavior
Officials also said those numbers included that people who were disruptive on board aircraft and were removed once the plane landed.
Nationwide, the FAA said it's had more than 4,300 reports of unruly passengers so far this year. It counts passengers refusing to wear masks as a separate category and said it's had more than 3,000 of those complaints.
The FAA has begun a "zero-tolerance" campaign for disruptive passengers. A civil fine can cost up to $377,000 as well as being banned by individual airlines.
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