Biden says U.S. will 'deal' with airplane violence

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday said he's taking steps to deal with the rising number of violent incidents on airplanes.

"I want you to know I've instructed the justice department to make sure that we deal with the violence on aircraft coming from those people who are taking issues. We're going to deal with that."

This year has seen 4,626 reports of unruly passenger incidents - more than 70% of those were related to masks. The FAA has initiated enforcement actions in 177 cases, issuing more than $1 million in proposed fines.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

Last month, two senior U.S. Senate Democrats urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate and prosecute unruly air passengers due to the surge in bad behavior during the pandemic.

In June, a group representing major U.S. airlines and aviation unions also asked Garland to prosecute the growing number of disruptive and violent air passengers.

Last month, Delta called on other U.S. airlines to share lists of passengers who have been banned during the COVID-19 pandemic for disruptive behavior to help deter the rising number of incidents. Delta said it has put more than 1,600 people on its "no fly" list during the pandemic.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson imposed a zero-tolerance order on passenger disturbances in January after supporters of Donald Trump were disruptive on flights around the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack.

That policy will stay at least as long as federal mask rules on airplanes are in place, which extend to mid-January 2022.

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