A new law designed to improve the safety of Bahrain's airline industry has been approved by the Kingdom's Shura Council, a report said.
It makes provisions for closer scrutiny during aircraft inspections and preventing planes from taking off if they do not have certificates stating they are in excellent condition and suitable to fly, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News.
The new law includes 143 articles related to the safety, security and comfort of passengers from the moment they arrive at the airport until they reach their destination.
Parliament has already approved the new Civil Aviation Law, which will now go to HM King Hamad for ratification.
Transportation Minister Kamal Ahmed said Bahrain was 71% compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) quality criteria and this figure would increase with the new law.
“The only reservations from the ICAO are that Bahrain's aviation legislation is old. The last civil aviation law was issued in 1995 without taking into consideration new advancements. It was huge work on my shoulders to come up with a new law in co-ordination with the ICAO in line with its regulations and the Chicago Civil Aviation Convention and now, after 8months, it has been passed by Parliament and the Shura Council”, the Minister said.
He said Bahrain International Airport was ranked second in the region behind Dubai International Airport, but this could change thanks to the new legislation.
The new law addresses a range of issues and makes plane captains responsible for the safety of passengers and their property from the moment plane doors are closed.
However, civil aviation authorities will be able to send inspectors to monitor the performance of captains and airline staff. Captains will be granted the right to take any action before, during or after a flight against disruptive or suspicious passengers.
Meanwhile, in the event of an accident, operators will be obliged to make down-payments even if they are not found to be responsible and a court will later determine if the money should be used as part of a compensation package.
Civil aviation officials selected by the concerned Minister will also be able to cancel licenses of operators, captains, support staff and crew members in the event of violations being uncovered.
A Captain who does not follow instructions or jeopardizes passengers' lives could have their license terminated and would face up to three years in jail, as well as a fine of no less than BD3,000 ($7,827).