BBPA responds to call for evidence on airside licensing

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of British Beer & Pub Association, has made comment on the call for evidence on airside licensing.

Simmonds said, “Many of us enjoy a drink at airports as a relaxing way to start a hard-earned break. Any measures taken to tackle the small minority of disruptive passengers must therefore be proportionate and not penalise the responsible majority.

“Our members with airside pubs already sell alcohol in a responsible manner, reflecting the key aspects of the Licensing Act which they adhere to in all their other venues, even though they do not apply airside. Extending the Licensing Act to airside pubs would be bureaucratic and disproportionate.

'There are, however, other actions that can be taken, including extending the best practice of pubs to other outlets who serve alcohol in airports, but might not elsewhere. Looking at potential trigger points for disruptive passenger behaviour, like the sale of miniatures at duty-free check-outs and free alcohol in airline lounges, also needs to be considered.'

Simmonds continued, 'Just as the BBPA has worked with the Home Office to create a better understanding of the law around serving customers, there is considerable potential for raising awareness of the law at airports. Operating voluntary codes of practice across all airside retailers and operators, thereby ensuring common standards and best practice, would also be effective.

'Training is also key, so that both retail and airline staff are able to recognise and deal with disruptive passengers, including stopping them from boarding an aircraft and ensuring the responsible sale of alcohol. Displays to educate passengers about the risks of drinking irresponsibly positioned in key locations across an airport would also be beneficial.'

Simmond concluded, 'As demonstrated elsewhere in the sector, partnerships are key to tackling this issue. Best Bar None, which promotes the responsible operation of alcohol licensed premises, is already piloting a scheme with Manchester Airports Group that could be adapted by other airports if successful.

'The BBPA has also been working with a number of airports who are keen to learn from our experience in this area, working together to ensure that everyone sets off on their flights in a relaxed, but better informed way.”