! Spanish News Today – Plainclothes Guardia Civil To Become Us-style Air Marshals On Commercial Flights

Release date: 10/20/2022

Spain’s Guardia Civil police are creating a new role for armed officers who will fly on planes classified as “vulnerable” to hijacking and terrorist threats

The plainclothes Guardia Civil become US-style Air Marshals on commercial flights

Spain’s Guardia Civil is taking another step forward to expand its powers. From now on, armed special agents of the Civil Guard, dressed in civilian clothes, will travel on commercial aircraft in Spain, both on domestic and international flights, to intervene in cases that are extremely serious for flight safety or the lives of passengers, especially attempted hijackings or terrorist threats .

As reported by the Spanish newspaper El País, the Spanish armed forces have unveiled their new security escort unit called “Unesev”, which will consist of these US-style air marshals.

The flight attendants will be officially called “escoltas de vuelo” in Spanish and have apparently been on duty since last June during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. To date they have flown a total of 20 flights to, from and from Spain.

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The number of agents that will make up this new unit has not yet been announced, but it is clear that they will be adequately armed and equipped to act quickly when the situation calls for it. And as the Guardia Civil has explained, they will not be present on all flights because they do not have enough agents or money to cover it, only on the flights that have been classified as dangerous after a risk analysis. Of course, the average passenger does not know which flights are involved and whether there is a plainclothes police officer on his plane.

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However, the Guardia Civil said that flight attendants will not intervene in such minor scuffles that may occur between passengers on the plane, but will only act in situations that pose a serious threat to the lives of passengers and crew, such as a kidnapping or a terrorist threat. At this point, the escort has ultimate authority to exercise their functions according to the risk of the situation.

Negotiation tactics, self-defense and knowledge of English

The Guardia Civil has indicated in a press release that the agents who are part of this unit will have very specialized and extensive training. Among other skills, these Air Marshals must have a good grounding in self-defense techniques; the ability to intervene in conflict situations between people and master negotiation tactics; solid knowledge of aircraft operations; behavior analysis; First aid and even good knowledge of English.

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This is the first time that Spain has its own Air Marshals force, but in fact the country already has this EU service. The Prüm Convention, signed in 2005 by 14 member states including Spain, Germany, France and Austria, regulates cross-border crime, the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration. Within this framework, Spain has received an average of 7,500 flight attendants over the past five years, all coordinated by the Madrid and Barcelona airport authorities of the Guardia Civil.

Image: Guardia Civil


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