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Hundreds of passengers have been arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft or at an airport in the last two years, new figures reveal.
At least 442 people were held between March 2014 and March 2016, in police statistics obtained by the Press Association following freedom of information requests.
Cases include drunk passengers accused of attempting to open the doors of an aircraft, smashing a window and banging on the outside of the cockpit.
Alleged incidents at airports include a man headbutting another person after being refused permission to fly and a passenger at Luton airport smashing a barrier and kicking out a door panel after he missed his flight.
The statics show that 77 people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft in 2014-15, followed by another 73 in the subsequent 12 months.
For the police forces that gave information, a further 143 arrests were made relating to alleged drunkenness at airports in 2014-15, with 149 in the most recent year covered.
This included arrest for being drunk and disorderly, while a small number were held on suspicion of being drunk or under the influence of drugs or an ‘intoxitcating substance’.
The Metropolican Police which covers Heathrow did not provide figures but Sussex police recoded 128 arrests at Gatwick over the two years.
Aviation minister Robert Goodwill said: “Passengers who become disruptive on flights after drinking alcohol cause distress to other travellers, create knock-on delays to other flights, and in rare cases can even put flight safety at risk.
“That is why we strongly support efforts to tackle the problem. Airports, airlines and the police are developing an industry-wide code of conduct and running information campaigns aimed at passengers.”
Shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood described the figures as “extremely concerning”.
She said: “Drunk passengers on flights can pose a real safety risk, and they can create an unpleasant or even intimidating environment for other passengers and air crew.
“The new statistics suggest that more needs to be done to tackle the problem.”
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