Irish Aviation Authority considering banning alcohol on flights

Disruptive passengers force planes into emergency landings at least once a month and every three hours passenger safety is threatened by unruly people on the plane. 70% of these incidents are aggressive.

Irish Aviation Authority considering banning alcohol on flights

Alcohol may be banned on flights to improve passenger behaviour, the Irish Aviation Authority has warned.

Disruptive passengers force planes into emergency landings at least once a month and every three hours passenger safety is threatened by unruly people on the plane. 70% of these incidents are aggressive.

Incidents involving disruptive passengers jumped by a third in one year between 2017-2018.

Paul Brandon, head of corporate affairs for the Irish Aviation Authority, said that alcohol is a contributory factor in a large number of these incidents.

And he said that aviation authorities would consider banning alcohol on flights.

"It is absolutely on the table, but our preference is to focus on the awareness of the risk if they disrupt a flight,” Mr Brandon said.

“We are asking passengers to be aware of the disciplinary consequences. Disruptions can be very distressing for other passengers and for the flight crew,” he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

An IAA spokesperson said those consequences for disruptive passengers were serious - with some facing arrest, court appearances and refusal to board a plane.

"These offences are generally wide-ranging and are dealt with by the appropriate enforcement agency locally," the spokesperson said.

The IAA has launched a new campaign ‘Not On My Flight’ with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, to highlight the new zero-tolerance approach to risky, disruptive on-flight behaviour.

Ryanair has already stopped passengers bringing alcohol – including duty-free purchases – onto the plane in hand luggage to many popular Spanish destinations from certain UK airports.

Last year, the company called for a pre-10am airport alcohol ban to tackle unruly behaviour, but refused to stop selling alcohol on its own early morning flights.

A spokesperson for the airline said it had taken a number of measures to prevent disruptive behaviour on flights.

Customers are not permitted to consume their own duty-free purchases onboard and customers flying from Glasgow Prestwick to Alicante; Manchester to Alicante, Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga, Palma and Tenerife South; and on all UK flights to Ibiza, are not permitted to bring duty-free alcohol on board our aircraft.

"Those who have purchased duty-free alcohol will be asked to either place their purchases in their cabin baggage and into the hold at the boarding gate, or leave their purchases behind.”

On Tuesday, 13 organisations operating within the Irish aviation sector, including Aer Lingus, Ryanair, the country’s main airports and the Commission for Aviation Regulation, signed a joint declaration, committing to tackling disruptive passenger behaviour on flights.

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