Airline bosses said drunken passengers’ disruptive behaviour continues to affect airports, airlines, crew and fellow passengers, adding it was “unfair and unrealistic” for their staff to manage the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.
Today, the Home Office launched a review into whether to extend high street licensing laws into departure halls and terminals, which would see pubs, restaurants and duty-free shops forced to delay serving alcohol until 10am.
Under current rules, sales of alcohol beyond the security gates at international airports in England and Wales are not regulated by these laws.
Phil Ward, managing director of Jet2.com, said: “There is no reason why alcohol sold in airports should not be done to the same rules and standards that apply on the high street, and the introduction of sealed bags for alcohol items purchased in Duty Free provides a simple practical solution to prevent the illicit consumption of duty free alcohol on board the aircraft.
“The majority of people get into the holiday spirit without overdoing it, but a minority can unfortunately spoil it for everyone else, which is why we want to protect everybody from the problems that alcohol-related disruptive behaviour causes.”
A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport said any disruptive behaviour is “absolutely not tolerated” - but did not say they would back the government plans as it would “restrict consumer choice for the overwhelming majority of our passengers who act responsibly.”
He said: “Instances of alcohol-related disruptive behaviour at Leeds Bradford Airport are rare, with only a very small number of cases each year.
“The Airport is a signatory to the UK Aviation Industry Code of Practice on Disruptive Passengers and continues to work closely with airlines, airport retailers, bars and restaurants and the police to tackle any form of disruptive behaviour.
“We believe that the actions of a very small minority should not restrict consumer choice for the overwhelming majority of our passengers who act responsibly at all stages of the passenger journey.”
Travellers already face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine for drunken behaviour on an aircraft.
The Government is now asking the public for their views on whether introducing these laws could help tackle the problem in a three month call for evidence.