Airline passengers who purchase alcohol in airports may have to keep it in sealed bags, under new government plans. Airport alcohol purchases are currently only required to be placed in sealed bags if a passenger is boarding multiple flights and therefore going through further security checks.
However, ministers are looking to crack down on intoxicated passengers who cause disruption during flights and are considering tightening the rule to apply to people boarding a single flight.
Other options are also currently being looked at, such as a ban on passengers taking their own alcohol on board planes and tougher penalties for being drunk during a flight.
Baroness Sugg, the aviation minister, stated that disruptive behaviour can ruin flights for both passengers and members of the crew.
She said that while airports and airlines have made good progress in tackling this behaviour, incidents are “on the rise”.
As a result, the government wants to “examine the existing prevention work and penalties to see what more can be done”.
A consultation on the proposals is due to be launched in the autumn, with the government’s final plans then being published in early 2019.
This follows a recommendation from the House of Lords Select Committee that the Licensing Act 2003 be extended to airport bars, thereby giving greater powers to licensing authorities.
Airlines UK, the trade body representing carriers registered in the UK, believes the proposal regarding sealed bags is an “interesting idea”.
A spokesman also welcomed ministers’ focus on “closing the licensing loophole”, but stressed the industry is doing “everything they can” to deal with the problem of disruptive passengers.
Recent research by Airlines UK found that eight in ten people believe airport bars and shops should be subject to the same licensing regulations as those in towns and cities.
For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact Robert Botkai in our Commercial Real Estate and Licensing department.