Aviation minister Lord Ahmad considering cracking down on airport alcohol sales

Francesca Washtell
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Our flights might be about to feel a whole lot longer (Source: Getty)
he UK's new aviation minister has shaken many a business traveller with the news that he will examine how alcohol is sold in airports, after several recent incidents involving drunk passengers.

Lord Ahmad has said he will "look at" the times alcohol is on sale at British airports and consider passenger screening measures before boarding planes.

"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," Lord Ahmad said yesterday when discussing his new aviation portfolio.

"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.

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"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."

However, the government has no immediate plans to address the issue. A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "Airport security is always under review, however there are no plans to specifically address the issue of alcohol at airports."

The chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds, said: "Penalties for passengers who cause flight disruption are rightly severe, and we would certainly work with the Government if they do initiate any review.

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"As an industry we are keen for alcohol to be sold and drunk responsibly, including, of course, at airports, and despite venues airside not being covered by the Licensing Act, the industry still adheres to internal policies to ensure that alcohol is sold and consumed responsibly. Staff training is an important element, and there are also considerable powers already available to deter and deal with those that misuse alcohol when waiting to board a flight."

Statistics obtained by the Press Association through Freedom of Information requests found more than 440 people were held on suspicion of being drunk either at an airport or on a plane in the UK between March 2014 and March 2016.

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