Dry airports? UK to tackle aggressive drunkenness

Dry airports? UK to tackle aggressive drunkenness

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As the number of alcohol-related incidents doubles, UK airports may implement measures to reduce drink sales

Getting a pre-flight drink at the airport lounge could become slightly harder in the United Kingdom as the British government is considering introducing legislation limiting alcoholic drinks in airport pubs.

Drunkenness – ShutterstockThe British government plans to crack down on airport drunkenness – Shutterstock

There have been a growing number of alcohol-related incidents and arrests of aggressive travellers over the past year.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says there was a 50 per cent increase in 2017 in the number of passengers detained.

A House of Lords committee report recommended extending the Licensing Act 2003 to cover airport bars in a few weeks. The House of Lords is the upper chamber of the British government.

Airports in the UK have long been exempt from legislation governing when the vendors can sell alcohol. The plans would close these loopholes that allow them to sell drinks 24-hours a day.

If the new measures take place, councils would have the power to restrict the time when alcohol could be sold and force airport bars to follow the same rules as high street pubs.

Bars that breach the limits could face consequences and even closure.

Encouraged by the move, Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “All the evidence does show that this is a problem that is only getting worse,” he said.

Duty-frees won't be affected by these measures — Shutterstock drunknessDuty-frees won’t be affected by the measures — Shutterstock

“The number of incidents of poor behaviour on board flights is increasing year on year and we need to work together to get a handle on it as soon as possible.”

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, has already backed a two-drink limit at airports. They have also called for a total ban on alcohol before 10 am.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair‘s Chief Marketing Officer, explained that the responsibility must now lie with airports.

“This is an issue which the airports must now address,” he told BBC.

“We are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, particularly with early morning flights and when flights are delayed.”

A Home Office spokesman also noted that there were already “tough penalties” in place for aggressive behaviour linked to drunkenness on an aircraft: “You can be imprisoned for up to two years or given an unlimited fine.

“Pilots also have the power to issue the removal passengers from the plane if they are drunk and the safety of the aircraft or its passengers is threatened.”

Duty-free sales will not be affected by the measures.

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