Holidaymakers could be banned from morning drinking at UK airports

A generic shot of an airport bar. Pic: Shutterstock
A generic shot of an airport bar. Pic: Shutterstock
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Morning drinking for holidaymakers at UK airports could be banned under proposals being put forward by the government.

The Home Office is set to launch a review of licensing laws at UK airports, and to decide whether to extend high street regulations to airport terminals. Pubs and restaurants in “airside” sections of UK airports are currently exempt from the UK’s 2003 Licensing Act.

The proposals could see a ban on alcohol sales before 10am, spelling an end to early-morning drinking for holidaymakers.

However, the review will only apply to airports in England and Wales - not in Scotland.

Airlines have been calling for a crackdown on alcohol sales before flights following a spike in arrests for drunken behaviour, claiming they are saddled with the consequences of intoxicated passengers.

READ MORE: Airport alcohol ban call after Scottish arrest figures released

In September, the airline industry warned that passengers found drunk on a flight could be fined up to £5,000 and jailed for up to two years for breaching air navigation orders. Drunk passengers could also expect to face fines of up to £80,000 if a plane has to be diverted because of disruptive behaviour.

During the same month, a Ryanair flight to Ibiza was forced to return to Manchester Airport 36 minutes into the journey because of a “disruptive passenger”. Police later arrested a woman on suspicion of being drunk onboard an aircraft.

But the move has also drawn sharp criticism from hospitality chiefs, who have warned it would 'demonise' pub-goers who deserve the right to enjoy a drink while going on holiday.

And they claim any crackdown could exempt passengers in first-class lounges, as the drinks are served for free by airlines.

A previous version of this article featured a picture of Edinburgh Airport and mentioned "Scottish holidaymakers". The Home Office review of licensing laws at UK airports only to applies to England and Wales.