Have Indian flights sky marshals

They have been flying with us since September 11, 2001: “Sky Marshals” are supposed to prevent terrorist attacks on board. But who should pay for it? The Federal Court of Justice has now answered the question.

When others go on vacation, they are on duty: “Sky Marshals” are supposed to ensure safety on board in an emergency. The plainclothes watchdogs travel undetected - airlines have to pay for this in full. More security can also cost more, decided the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe on Thursday and rejected a million-dollar lawsuit by Lufthansa as unfounded (Ref .: III ZR 391/17).

What are "Sky Marshals"?

The flight safety attendants - as their official name is - are armed federal police officers who are supposed to prevent terrorist attacks on board if necessary. They have been used regularly since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The federal police do not reveal how many there are. At the start there was talk of 200 men. "Sky Marshals" are specially trained and have to master certain fighting techniques. “Rambos” are not in demand. The secret watchdogs should be one thing above all else: stress-resistant and mentally stable, the police said. Whether and how often “Sky Marshals” have been active so far remains a secret.

Where are you flying with?

For safety reasons, this is not revealed either: "The effectiveness of the deployment of flight safety attendants depends crucially on the fact that details about deployments as well as specific personnel strengths, deployment tactics, armament, other technical equipment as well as the content of the advanced training courses and specific training units are not disclosed and are treated confidentially." According to the federal police. In any case, they are used on endangered routes. These include insider flights to and from the USA and Israel, but also flights to the Arab world.

Why was there an argument about the secret guardians?

According to the Federal Police Act, “Sky Marshals” must be transported free of charge. However, Lufthansa did not want to pay taxes, entry or customs fees or take-off and landing fees for them. She demanded more than 2.3 million euros in costs from the Federal Republic. The airline saw itself at a disadvantage vis-à-vis foreign competition and also vis-à-vis companies that only offer domestic flights - no security guards fly with them. At the BGH hearing, the Lufthansa lawyer referred to the already high costs of flying: from the acquisition of the planes to the staff to the kerosene - and to the fact that the police officers were occupying “high-priced seats”.

What does the BGH say?

The highest German civil judges see it as before the Potsdam Regional Court and the Brandenburg Higher Regional Court: The obligation to transport free of charge is justified because of the comparatively higher risk of terrorism than when traveling by train, for example, and because of the common good. More security should also cost more. This does not inappropriately restrict Lufthansa. The annual additional costs of 300,000 euros for “Sky Marshals” are also “of subordinate economic importance”, as the OLG had put it in view of 30 billion euros in sales.

Why does the obligation to transport not end at the border?

Whether national or international flight - according to the Federal Court of Justice, the federal police officers are also deployed beyond the state border. And from the point of view of the Karlsruhe judges, there is nothing to prevent them from being authorized to exercise “on-board violence” as the pilots' representatives outside of German territory. The obligation to carry includes the entire outward and return flight. The presiding BGH judge had described it as follows at the hearing on July 12th: "The officers cannot jump with the parachute."

What could the BGH judgment mean for the customer?

OLG and BGH blatantly suggest that Lufthansa include the additional costs in the flight price and pass them on to passengers - they argue with the security gain. But the company says it doesn't want that. A spokesman emphasized that the BGH ruling had "of course no effect on the ticket prices of our passengers".