Police figures have shown that nearly 450 passengers have been arrested on suspicion of being drunk in the past 2 years. Freedom of information requests reveal that at least 245 people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk at a UK airport between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2019.
Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, reported the highest number of arrests within that time period with 103 passengers, followed by Gatwick with 81, Glasgow with 47 and Liverpool with 40 arrests. Greater Manchester Police and 3 other forces did not provide figures within the time limit so the final figure is expected to be higher. The ages of those arrested range between 20-58.
The figures emerged after a woman was arrested at Southend Airport for attacking an easyJet crew member. A similar incident took place at Bristol Airport with a man arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft and sexually assaulting the female crew members.
Chief executive of trade body Airlines UK has described the arrest figures as “ridiculous’’ and has also requested for the introduction of new laws to reduce the number of passengers who drink too much before and during flights.
Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline, support the proposed changes and stated that “We continue to call for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, such as a two-drink limit per passenger and no alcohol sales before 10am.’’
The sale of alcohol once a passenger has gone through international airport security in England and Wales is not regulated by licensing laws. A Home Office consultation on whether legislation should be amended closed in February without a decision being announced.
Legislation is important for several reasons, including setting standards and controls to govern the actions of people and groups in the public and private spheres. However, with Parliament otherwise occupied, there seems no sign of any changes any time soon.