DRUNKEN passengers disrupted more than 2,000 flights last year – despite new measures to tackle airport boozing.
New figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) show there were 413 “serious” incidents in 2018 which resulted in flights being diverted at a cost of up to £80,000 each.
But trade body Airlines UK says the true number of incidents involving rowdy yobs was more than 4,000 – half of which were alcohol-related.
A spokesman for the group, which represents giants including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet and Ryanair, said: “More needs to be done – by industry and Ministers – to tackle this growing problem.
“Planes are not nightclubs and we need to get rid of the irresponsible alcohol selling that we are seeing in our airports that is fuelling this volume of incidents.”
The CAA said the annual number of disruptive passenger incidents has doubled since 2015.
Its figures are based on the most serious cases – which means anything that endangers an aircraft or its passengers and crew.
ALCOHOL IN SEALED BAGS
Airlines UK’s numbers include less serious incidents, such as passengers verbally abusing staff or indecently exposing themselves.
It is calling on the government to tighten up licencing at airports to bring them in line with the high street, and start selling duty free booze in sealed bags so it can’t be consumed until after the flight.
Currently, nowhere that sells alcohol airside is licensed in any way, which allows everyone including Starbucks, Costa and Yo Sushi to sell booze.
Some airports recently started selling duty-free booze in sealed bags to stop passengers drinking it at the airport or on their flights.
But airlines want to make this mandatory – and scrap sales of miniatures and mixers at the airport.
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The CAA said acts of drunkenness on an aircraft can lead to a £5,000 fine and two years in prison.
And the prison sentence for endangering the safety of an aircraft is up to five years.
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