Monday 20 May 2019

Ryanair to continue selling alcohol on board despite calling for airport ban

Ryanair flight
Ryanair flight

Kirsty Blake Knox and Anne-Marie Walsh

RYANAIR has no plans to stop selling alcohol on board its early morning flights, despite calling for a pre-10am airport drink ban.

The airline this week called for an alcohol ban to be put in place at airports after a group of holidaymakers forced an Ibiza-bound flight from Dublin to divert to Paris on Saturday morning. It also suggested airports consider implementing a two-drink limit per passenger.

But Ryanair, which serves a range of alcoholic drinks on its morning flights, said it would not impose a ban itself as "very little alcohol is actually sold on board". The airline added it had a "zero-tolerance" policy towards alcohol and that "cabin crew have full discretion when it comes to selling or refusing to sell alcohol".

Yesterday, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) described Ryanair's proposed pre-10am booze ban as "highly draconian".

A spokesperson said intoxicated passengers were not a significant issue, and there was no proof those travelling on the flight to Ibiza had been drinking at the airport. The DAA said a booze ban "would affect all passengers because of the behaviour of a very, very small minority of airline travellers".

In some UK airports, Ryanair customers are no longer permitted to bring alcohol bought in the airport on board the aircraft.

Ryanair said if unruly Irish passengers become a "recurrent issue" then this policy may have to be revised.

Last year, the UK's Civil Aviation Authority reported a 600pc increase in disruptive passenger incidents between 2012-2016, with most "involving alcohol".

Citing the report, Ryanair said it was unfair airports could profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol while leaving "the airlines to deal with the safety consequences". The airline insists it does not allow "intoxicated" passengers on board.

However, yesterday Ryanair passengers aired their frustrations on Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' radio show on RTÉ. Caller Conor Leydon recalled the time a drunk passenger vomited on his head during a Ryanair flight from Cork to Malaga.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: "We operate strict guidelines for the carriage of customers who are disruptive or appear to be under the influence of alcohol."

Meanwhile, Ryanair pilots may strike later this summer after extending a ballot for industrial action in a row over who gets first call on workplace perks. The pilots want the length of their time in the job to decide who gets first call on entitlements including holidays, as well as promotions and transfers between bases.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association has given its members up to early July to cast their votes in a ballot that was due to close today.

Sources revealed a strike could take place later this summer. In an update sent to members last night, seen by the Irish Independent, the union's Executive Council said a secret ballot was due to close today, with the count shortly afterwards.

Irish Independent

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