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Minister Calls for Examining How Alcohol is Sold in Britain’s Airports

Martini cocktail glasses with a city view.

A number of alcohol-fueled incidents have hit British headlines in recent months. A senior minister is now calling for a review of how alcohol is sold in the country’s airports.

Following a string of alcohol-related incidents, a British politician has called for a closer inspection of the way alcohol is sold in the country’s airports. Lord Ahmad, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Minister for Aviation), told the BBC that he wanted to re-consider the practices concerning the selling of alcohol at airports and said that he believes that passengers should be screened prior to boarding flights.

Data obtained by the Press Association reveals that, between March 2014 and March 2016, at least 442 people were detained on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at one of the country’s airports.

According to the latest figures given by the Civil Aviation Authority, the country’s aviation regulator, a total of 238 million travelers passed through British airports in 2014.

The organizations representing British airports and airlines concurred that while disruptive incidents are rare, they can be serious. The penalty for this kind of offense can result in a fine, travel ban or even a prison sentence.

This year has seen a number of alcohol-related incidents hit headlines in Britain. In February, a Ryanair flight to Slovakia was divertedand six men arrested after a mid-air altercation. Last month, an EasyJet passenger punched the plane’s pilot after being removed from the flight.

Recently, some airports and airlines have attempted to reduce the likelihood of this kind of behavior. Airports in Glasgow and Manchester have started to sell alcohol in sealed bags while low-cost carrier Jet2 has published a collaborative zero tolerance policy on disruptive behavior.

Commenting on the situation, Lord Ahmad told the broadcaster that, “I don’t think we want to kill merriment altogether, but I think it’s important that passengers who board planes are also responsible.”

He added, “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, despite Lord Ahmad’s views, a spokesperson for the country’s Department for Transport has said that, at present, “there are no plans to specifically address the issue of alcohol at airports.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

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