SPAIN’S Civil Guard is launching a new unit of air marshals who will travel armed and in plain clothes on national and international flights, with the aim of intervening in cases of hijackings or terrorism.

The UNESEVE unit, as they will be officially known, has already been in action. During the NATO summit that was held in Madrid this summer, its agents were present on 20 flights.

The number of officers that will make up the unit has not been disclosed, but the Civil Guard has made clear that it will not operate on all flights, but rather those that present some kind of danger based on prior risk analysis, Spanish daily El País reported. 

The officers will also not be charged with intervening in other disturbances on the plane, such as drunk or disorderly passengers. Instead they will only spring into action when there is a serious danger to the lives of the crew or passengers on board. 

The unit was presented on Tuesday to coincide with a meeting of the International Committee of Flight Safety Officers, which is being held from today until October 20 on the Balearic Island of Palma de Mallorca.

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