Aviation: Drunkenness

Department for Transport written question – answered on 25th September 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the risk posed to aviation and passenger safety by intoxicated air passengers.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Civil Aviation Authority, as the UK’s aviation safety regulator, keeps the risks posed to aviation and passenger safety under review. The Government has also committed to improving the consumer experience as a whole as part of the Aviation Strategy, due for publication mid-2019. Both safety and disruptive passenger behaviour have been specifically identified as key issues to explore and address as the strategy is developed.

There are strong legal provisions in place to deal with the problem of disruptive behaviour. The main legislation under UK law relating to the rules of conduct on board aircraft is the Air Navigation Order (ANO), which carries severe penalties for disruptive behaviour. It is an offence under the ANO to enter an aircraft when drunk, or be drunk in an aircraft, carrying a maximum of two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. In addition, the UK has state of landing and state of operator jurisdiction, which means that disruptive passengers on any flight that touches down within the UK can be charged and, if necessary, prosecuted.

This is an issue that the Government is taking very seriously, the Home Office will shortly be publishing a Call for Evidence on revoking licensing laws to help address the problem of drunk and disorderly airline passengers.

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