Endangering Safety of Aircraft

– section 246C of the Crimes Act 1958

endangering safe operation of aircraft


Endangering Safety of Aircraft is when a person on board a plane does something to impact the safety of the plane.

Examples of Endangering Safety of Aircraft
  • A passenger on board a plane gets into a fight with another passenger.
  • Someone lights a cigarette while on board a plane.
What are some of the possible defences to an Endangering Safety of Aircraft charge?
  • You did not do anything that would endanger the safety of an aircraft.
  • You did not intentionally endanger the safety of an aircraft.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • What do they think you actually did?
  • Can they prove you did anything that endangered the safety of an aircraft?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment.

This is a strictly indictable charge which means that your case must be heard in the County Court.

“Did you endanger the safety of a plane?”
What is the legal definition of Endangering Safety of Aircraft?

The Prosecution must show that you were on board an aircraft, and while you were on board, you did something that was likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft.

The Law

The section that covers this offence is section 246C of the Crimes Act 1958.1

prison penalty sentencing

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Endangering the safety of aircraft is a very serious offence that could result in a prison term if you are found guilty. However, the circumstances of your case and the seriousness of your actions will determine your sentence. For insignificant acts you may only receive a fine.


[1] Crimes Act 1958 – Section 246C

Any person who while on board an aircraft does any act or thing that is likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft shall be guilty of an indictable offence and shall be liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).