Quick Reference


Seizing or exercising control of an aircraft in flight by the use or threat of force (the term derives from the call “Hi Jack,” used when illegal alcohol was seized from bootleggers during Prohibition in the United States). Hijacking is prohibited in international law by the Tokyo Convention 1963, which defines the conditions under which jurisdiction may be assumed over hijackers, but does not oblige states to exercise such jurisdiction and does not create an obligation to extradite hijackers. There is also a Hague Convention of 1970 and a Montreal Convention of 1971 creating the offences of unlawfully seizing or exercising control of an aircraft by force or threats and of sabotaging aircraft; these conventions provide for compulsory jurisdiction as well as extradition. In English law, hijacking and similar offences are governed by the Hijacking Act 1971, the Protection of Aircraft Act 1973, and the Aviation Security Act 1982.

Subjects: Law.

Reference entries