Consuming alcohol purchased in airport duty-free shops onboard aircraft should be “made a criminal offence” to curb air rage incidents, an industry aviation body has urged.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, has suggested the idea to help reduce the amount of drink-fuelled disruption and crime on flights.
Alderslade told Sky News: “Alcohol is the single largest contributory factor and it is clear that it needs to be sold and consumed responsibly, for the safety of all.
“Alcohol purchased in the airport and then consumed covertly on-board is hard for crew to monitor and control and so airlines are asking government to amend the Air Navigation Order (ANO) to make this type of consumption a criminal offence.
“We’re hopeful that the changes to the ANO – alongside strict adherence to the code of practice – will be adequate to see the number of incidents come down and we remain open to any additional solutions put forward in the future.”
There were 421 incidences of disruptive passengers at UK airports in 2016, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), with the majority considered to be influenced by alcohol.
The calls from Airlines UK comes in the wake of a parliamentary committee recommending restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol at terminals, Sky News reports.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Passengers should be able to enjoy journeys from the UK’s airports without having their journeys spoilt by a disruptive minority.
“We strongly support efforts to tackle the problem of passengers who cause disruption on flights and welcome an industry-wide Code of Practice that has been published recently.
“There are no plans to change the rules around drinking on flights.”
A CAA spokesperson told Sky News: “There is a range of work by the aviation industry to reduce disruptive passenger incidents and we will continue to engage with the industry as it explores further options for how best to tackle this issue.”