Airport bars and restaurants could face limits on alcohol sales

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Airport bars and restaurants could face limits on alcohol sales

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Restaurants and bars in airports could be hit with restrictions on serving alcohol after a spate of incidents involving drunken passengers.

UK airports are currently exempt from licensing laws and can serve alcohol at any hour.

But aviation minister Tariq Ahmad, who was appointed by Theresa May earlier this month, said he would ‘look at’ the times drinks were on sale and consider screening passengers.

"If you're a young family travelling on a plane you want to go from point A to B, you don't want to be disrupted," said Lord Ahmad.

"I don't think we want to kill merriment altogether, but I think it's important that passengers who board planes are also responsible and have a responsibility to other passengers, and that certainly should be the factor which we bear in mind.”

New bars and restaurants

Airside hospitality has changed dramatically in the last ten years,​ with heavy investment attracting big name brands. Celebrity chef James Martin opened his first bakery as part of an £80m revamp​ of Stansted airport last year.

But despite partnerships between operators, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and police and airport authorities, issues with passenger behaviour have continued.

In February six men in a stag party made headlines when they were arrested after a fight on board a flight from Luton airport to Bratislava, Slovakia,​ forcing it to divert to Berlin.

According to figures obtained in a freedom of information request by the Press Association, at least 442 people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk on a flight or at an airport in the last two years.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA said the industry would be open to working with the Government over changes in the law.

“As an industry we are keen for alcohol to be sold and drunk responsibly, including, of course, at airports, and despite venues airside not being covered by the Licensing Act, the industry still adheres to internal policies to ensure that alcohol is sold and consumed responsibly,” she said.

Simmonds added that airside pubs and bars had a ‘good track record’ of encouraging responsible drinking.

“Staff training is an important element, and there are also considerable powers already available to deter and deal with those that misuse alcohol when waiting to board a flight,” she said.

The Times reported last year​ that ministers were also considering placing limits on how many drinks are given out mid-flight in a bid to combat ‘air rage’ incidents.

Related news

Show more


Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers