Restrictions on alcohol sales at UK airports could be introduced in an attempt to reduce the number of drink-related air rage incidents.

Airports are currently exempt from legislation governing when they can sell alcohol.

A House of Lords report last year found disruptive incidents on flights “more often than not” involved passengers who had had alcohol before boarding.

A BBC investigation also found a 50% increase in arrests of drunken flyers.

The Home Office says passengers should be able to enjoy their holidays without having their flight disrupted by “a small minority of people”.

It is expected to begin assessing the impact of implementing the Licensing Act 2003 on airside premises – as recommended in a Lords committee report – in a few weeks.

If introduced, the act would give councils the power to restrict the timing of alcohol sales and bring the rules governing airport bars in line with the UK high street.

It would also give them the ability to close down bars that breached the limits.

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade, said he was encouraged by the move.

“All the evidence does show that this is a problem that is only getting worse,” he said.

“The number of incidents of poor behaviour on board flights is increasing year on year and we need to work together to get a handle on it as soon as possible.”

A Home Office spokesman added that there were already “tough penalties” in place for drunkenness on an aircraft: “You can be imprisoned for up to two years or given an unlimited fine.

“Pilots also have the power to issue the removal passengers from the plane if they are drunk and the safety of the aircraft or its passengers is threatened.”