Last orders? Morning drinking at airports faces ban

Home Office to review licensing laws following rise in arrests for drunken behaviour
 Stansted airport’s departure lounge. Airlines have been calling for a crackdown on alcohol sales before flights. Photograph: PR company handout

Round-the-clock drinking at UK airports could become a thing of the past under proposals being put forward by the government.

The Home Office is set to launch a review of licensing laws at airport terminals across the country, which could signal an end to early-morning drinking in airport bars and restaurants.

Airlines have been calling for a crackdown on alcohol sales before flights following a spike in arrests for drunken behaviour, claiming they are saddled with the consequences of intoxicated passengers.

The Guardian understands the government intends to release more details on the proposals on Thursday. Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said disruptive or drunk behaviour on flights was unacceptable.

In September, the airline industry warned that drunk passengers could expect to face fines of up to £80,000 if a plane has to be diverted because of disruptive behaviour. Passengers found drunk on a flight could be fined up to £5,000 and jailed for up to two years for breaching air navigation orders.

The same month, a Ryanair flight to Ibiza was forced to return to Manchester airport 36 minutes into the journey because of a “disruptive passenger”. Police later arrested a woman on suspicion of being drunk onboard an aircraft.

In August last year, an investigation by BBC One’s Panorama revealed there had been a more than 70% increase in arrests relating to drunken behaviour on flights or at UK airports, rising from 225 in the year running up to February 2016 to 387 in the subsequent 12 months.

Source: The Guardian. UK.

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