AN AIRLINE has called for curbs on alcohol sales at airports and threatened to ban booze from more flights after suffering a 20 per cent increase in disruptive passengers this year.
The warning from Jet2, which flies 44 routes from Glasgow and Edinburgh, coincided with the start of the school summer holidays in parts of Scotland yesterday, with airports braced for their busiest time of the year.
It is a specific criminal offence to be drunk on a planeCAA spokesman
Managing director Phil Ward said up to eight incidents a day had been reported to him over the past three months – up by one fifth on a year ago. They included drunk, rowdy, aggressive passengers, and racial insults.
Mr Ward said the airline might ban alcohol on more flights in a bid to combat the scourge. He also urged restrictions on drink sales in terminals after finding passengers turning up for early morning flights already drunk.
He said: “We are refusing passengers from travelling every day, and the number of people banned from our flights has reached double figures since February.
“We would welcome a higher police presence and tighter licensing laws at airports.”
Andrew Tosh, 34, from Dundee, was jailed for nine months last week after admitting sexual assault and threatening and abusive behaviour on a Thomas Cook Glasgow to Turkey flight last month.
The latest Civil Aviation Authority figures showed the number of disruptive passengers has nearly tripled in three years from 39 in 2011 to 114 last year.
A spokesman said: “It is a specific criminal offence to be drunk on board an aircraft, and also to refuse to comply with instructions from the captain.
“We support UK airlines’ efforts to deal with disruptive passengers to ensure the safety of all those on board, and welcome criminal prosecutions where appropriate.”
Barbara O’Donnell, acting chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “It is unacceptable for the safety and comfort of passengers and airline staff to be jeopardised by someone who has had too much to drink.
“We would support Jet2’s calls for restrictions on alcohol sales at airports. On-board alcohol sales and passengers’ drinking their duty-free purchases also need to be carefully monitored to help prevent so many shocking and dangerous incidents.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport, Scotland’s busiest, said: “We believe the answer is increased education and engagement with passengers on appropriate airport behaviour.
“Over the last few years, we have introduced a responsible drinking campaign with Police Scotland which has seen a significant reduction in alcohol-related incidents reported.”