The pressure from the travel industry on the British government to honour its pledges made last year to crackdown on fraud and anti-social behaviour is mounting.
Abta is already on the government’s case about outlawing false compensation claims as quickly as possible. The Home Office is now considering reining in airport drinking. It has come under mounting pressure from airlines, travel associations and governments, such as here in the Balearics. There were several alcohol-related incidents at the islands' airports last year.
One involved two drunk tourists who failed to even make it through passport control. They caused such a commotion, which ended up with their assaulting a police officer, that they were held until the next flight home.
An investigation launched by the British government could spell the beginning of the end for the breakfast-time round of drinks at UK terminals. For many holidaymakers it is a bit of a tradition to have a beer or a glass of wine (or more in some cases) before jetting off. But the government is to investigate whether the licensing loophole, which allows airports to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, should be shut. The trade body representing British airlines has welcomed the news that the Home Office may bring fresh measures to bear over concessions in UK airports in a bid to cut the number of incidents caused by excessive drinking.
Currently, airports in the UK are exempt from the Licensing Act 2003, a piece of legislation which places licensing powers as well as the right to impose restrictions on the hours establishments might sell alcohol in the hands of local authorities.
Last year, a House of Lords Select Committee report recommended that "the designations of airports as international airports for the purposes of section 173 of the Licensing Act 2003 should be revoked, so that the Act applies fully airside at airports, as it does in other parts of airports".
The Select Committee cited the apparently rising number of "disruptive incidents" occurring on aircraft and the role of alcohol in them. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was referred to in the report, with its statistics showing a 36 per cent increase in disruptive passenger incidents between 2014 and 2015. But the more recent figure points to a two-fold increase in the number of "seriously disruptive passengers" between 2015 and 2016.
A spokesman said: "Although incidents of disruptive behaviour are rare in the context of the 268 million passengers travelling from UK airports every year, where they do happen the consequences can be serious. CAA stats demonstrate that the problem is increasing year on year and airline data show that the majority of cases - around 70 per cent - involve alcohol."
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