New aviation minister Lord Ahmad has announced he is going to look at changing the current rules and drinking hours in airports, stating that airports need to be more family-friendly. This could mean that airport bars are to be banned from selling alcohol around-the-clock in a bid to stop drunken air rage. Also duty free shops may only sell booze in sealed bags in a bid to reduce problems on flights, if Lord Ahmad gets his way.
Recent police statistics show hundreds of passengers were arrested on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the last two years. Figures obtained following freedom of information requests showed at least 442 people were held between March 2014 and March 2016.
Lord Ahmad said: “If you’re a young family travelling on a plane you want to go from point A to B, you don’t want to be disrupted.
“I don’t think we want to kill merriment altogether, but I think it’s important that passengers who board planes are also responsible and have a responsibility to other passengers, and that certainly should be the factor which we bear in mind.
“In terms of specific regulations of timings of outlets (which sell alcohol) and how they operate, clearly I want to have a look at that.”
As holidays abroad are becoming more and more popular, the number of incidents involving passengers indulging in too much alcohol is also increasing. One of the more recent incidents being a drunk woman punching a pilot in the face on board an EasyJet flight! So it comes as no surprise that both airlines and other passengers want something to change. Manchester and Glasgow airports are already trialling selling alcohol in sealed plastic bags to try and reduce problems.
Lord Ahmad highlighted the value of screening travellers before they board planes.
“I think that it’s important for the safety and security of all passengers that we ensure that regime is actually fit for purpose,” he said.
He added: “I want to certainly look at what more can be done in terms of making aviation a very attractive sector for all, so whether you’re a businessman making travelling arrangements or you’re a family planning a holiday, you can do so … knowing that once you board the plane it’s going to be an environment in which you’re going to be safe and secure.”