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Government looks to clamp down on 24-hour drinking at airports

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Government looks to clamp down on 24-hour drinking at airports

The government has announced plans to bring the round-the-clock sale of alcohol at airport pubs to an end. 

A consultation has been launched into the extension of licensing laws to pubs, bars, restaurants, lounges and shops located beyond the security gates of international airports in England and Wales in a bid to combat the problem of drunk and disruptive passengers.

Sites beyond the security gates are currently exempt from licensing restrictions.

Minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability Victoria Atkins said: “Most UK air passengers behave responsibly when flying, but any disruptive or drunk behaviour is entirely unacceptable.

“This government is committed to ensuring that the travelling environment for airline passengers remains safe and enjoyable.

“This is an excellent opportunity for all interested parties to engage directly with us, inform our understanding of the problem and identify suitable solutions.”

UK Hospitality has opposed increased legislation. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “New legislation would be unnecessary and unfair and demonise pub-goers who deserve the right to enjoy a drink when going on holiday and the vast majority do so responsibly. The long flight delays of yesteryear are thankfully rarer, so people aren’t in airport pubs for as long. The problem lies more with drinking duty-free purchases on board, which is already illegal but poorly enforced.

“Passengers in business and first-class lounges drink as much as they like at any time of day – why crack down on the venues where economy class passengers pay to enjoy a drink or two?

“UKHospitality works closely with airports, airlines and pubs to promote the responsible sale of alcohol and are signatories to the code of practice to that end, but we will continue to defend passengers’ right to enjoy a drink on their holiday.”

The call has followed a rise in reports of drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Neil Rankin: Strict licensing is restricting our ability to trade>>

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