Safety officers will proceed their steep enforcement towards a surge of unruly passengers so long as it stays an issue, Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson mentioned Tuesday.  

“We’ll keep it in place until the rates drive back down to where we have seen them historically,” Dickson mentioned of the zero-tolerance coverage for in-flight misbehavior and violence launched in January. The company has mentioned the coverage will stay in place so long as the Biden administration requires passengers on airplanes to put on face masks. 

The FAA has mentioned the zero-tolerance coverage means pursuing the utmost civil penalty or legal prosecution towards passengers who violate federal guidelines, interfering with the directions of plane crews. Approximately 3,000 experiences of unruly passengers have been filed this yr, and a couple of,300 of these embrace face masks violations. 

“The flight crews are on the aircraft for passenger safety, and it is extremely important and critical and required to follow the flight crew instructions,” Dickson mentioned at a digital occasion hosted by the web site Aviation Week. 

More on this: The company mentioned it has begun enforcement proceedings in 57 circumstances up to now, and recognized potential violations in 465 circumstances. In a standard yr, the company pursues as many as 150 violations. 

Dickson’s feedback got here because the FAA introduced 4 new fines towards allegedly unruly passengers. 

One passenger faces a proposed $15,500 fantastic for ignoring the directions of flight attendants, who “told the passenger at least 10 times to wear his facemask over both his mouth and nose.” That passenger additionally drank alcohol that was prohibited below federal guidelines as a result of it was not served by the airline. 

Three different passengers additionally face fines of between $7,500 and $10,500 for refusal to put on face masks. One “smoked an e-cigarette in the airplane lavatory,” in violation of federal guidelines, and one other’s yelling and profanity induced a flight to be diverted, the FAA mentioned. 

Including the 4 new penalties, the FAA has introduced 26 fines below its zero-tolerance coverage up to now this yr, totaling round $440,000 in proposed fines. The quantities will not be remaining as a result of the passengers obtain a violation discover and have 30 days to reply.