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The Balearic Islands, which include party hotspots Ibiza and Mallorca, have seen a surge in alcohol-related incidents, leading authorities to request that the EU and Spain ban booze on flights and in airports to combat what they call 'anti-social tourism'.
Though booze on many low-cost airlines and in airport bars comes with a high mark-up, it seems to have done little to quell British tourists' appetite for pre-holiday, mile-high alcohol consumption, with many highly publicised incidents in the last year.
Earlier this year, Spain's Civil police force (Guardia) needed to board a Ryanair flight in Palma, Mallorca, to remove three men who had been fighting all the way from Manchester. Video footage showed passengers applauding them, suggesting the high level of nuisance they had caused, while there have been many diversions in recent times due to rowdy, possibly drunk, passengers.
Ibiza's Pacha Club. Credit: PA
In April this year, a number of passengers on an easyJet flight from Liverpool's John Lennon Airport to Lanzarote were so rowdy that the plane had to be diverted to Agadir, Morocco. The disruption also affected a return flight to Merseyside, leaving holidaymakers stranded on the Spanish island. The airline did not confirm if the incident was alcohol related.
Pilar Carbonell, who heads tourism for the local government in the Balearics said: "We ask the central government and the European commission to ban the consumption of alcoholic drinks on flights and in airports... to guarantee security ... and tackle anti-social tourism."
The statement didn't specify whether the proposed ban should be on all EU flights or only those going to the Balearic Islands.The Balearics are well-known for attracting tourists in search of sun, sea (and sometimes sex), though Ibiza has been working hard to rebrand itself as an upmarket holiday island and foodie getaway.
Revellers on the beach in Ibiza. Credit: PA
However, the islands remain appealing to booze-hungry sun seekers and there are concerns that alcohol-addled arrivals may see an increase in problems and incidents while tourists are on holiday.
While drunkenness onboard is an undeniable problem, a report last year showed that the majority of air rage incidents didn't involve alcohol, and that more took place in Premium than Economy class.
Though many view drinking at airports as a pleasure and relatively harmless, the House of Lords reported pointed out this year that airport bars don't come under the Licensing Act of 2003, which essentially enables them to take a far more relaxed approach to the sale of booze.
Words: Ronan O'Shea
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