Drunks on a plane: Hundreds arrested in ‘real safety risk’

Scotsman Andrew Tosh, 34, of Dundee, who sexually assaulted a female cabin crew member, swore and acted aggressively to other passengers on the Glasgow to Turkey flight, as figures reveal hundreds of passengers have been arrested on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the last two years.

Scotsman Andrew Tosh, 34, of Dundee, who sexually assaulted a female cabin crew member, swore and acted aggressively to other passengers on the Glasgow to Turkey flight, as figures reveal hundreds of passengers have been arrested on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the last two years.

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Hundreds of passengers have been arrested on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the last two years, new figures reveal.

At least 442 people were held between March 2014 and March 2016, police statistics obtained by the Press Association show.

Among the arrests were six men on a Ryanair flight from Luton to Slovakia

Among the arrests were six men on a Ryanair flight from Luton to Slovakia

Cases include drunk passengers accused of attempting to open the doors of a plane, 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.

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.”

Figures obtained following freedom of information requests show 77 people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft in 2014/15, followed by 73 in the subsequent 12 months.

Passengers convicted of being drunk on an aircraft can face a fine or up to two years’ imprisonment.

For the police forces that gave information, a further 143 arrests were made relating to alleged drunkenness at airports in 2014/15, with 149 the year after.

This included arrests for being drunk and disorderly, while a small number were held on suspicion of being drunk or under the influence of drugs or an “intoxicating substance”.

The true numbers will almost certainly be higher as the Metropolitan Police force –- which covers the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow – did not provide figures.

Sussex Police force – which handles incidents at Gatwick – recorded 128 arrests over the two years. The ages of those detained around the UK ranged from 18 to 65.

The revelations come after a flurry of incidents in which flights were disrupted by alleged drunken behaviour.

Six men on a stag party were arrested by German police in February after a mid-air brawl caused a Ryanair flight from Luton to Bratislava, Slovakia, to divert to Berlin.

In June last year a passenger who had been so drunk he did not know what country he was in was jailed for nine months after forcing a plane to be diverted following a mid-flight bust-up.

In January an air hostess who was drunk while working as cabin crew on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Leeds Bradford Airport was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

She was more than four times the drink drive limit after the flight landed at the airport at around 9pm on December 18 last year. A court heard she caught a shuttle bus to a car park at Leeds Bradford Airport and got behind the wheel of her car before starting the engine.

Over the past few months the aviation industry has been working on how to tackle the issue, but no potential solutions have been announced.

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