Ryanair is demanding a ban on early morning drinking at airport bars after one of its flights had to be diverted due to disruptive passengers.
The airline blamed unruly passengers drinking at Dublin airport before take off for the disturbance on the flight to Ibiza.
The group of up to 20 holidaymakers were involved in the drink-fuelled disturbance after which three passengers were removed and detained by French police after the aircraft diverted to Paris Beauvais on Saturday morning.
The captain of the return flight from Ibiza on Saturday afternoon, which was delayed by almost three hours due to the disturbance, apologised for the delay.
He said there had been children on board the outbound flight which was diverted over safety concerns for all the passengers, the Irish Times reported.
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the airline might consider not selling alcohol on flights before 10am.
He told Irish media that he believed alcohol was involved in the incident, but said it was a rare occurance when a flight had to be diverted.
He said that not only were the remaining passengers on board the original flight delayed and inconvenienced, but so too were 180 passengers in Ibiza awaiting a return flight.
He also expressed concern that with air traffic control disputes in the pipeline this summer, up to one in five flights each day would face delays, some of between six to eight hours.
“Some people choose to spend those hours at the bar,” Jacobs said.
He called on the Dublin Airport Authority to introduce a system where people have to show their boarding pass to buy alcohol – as with duty free purchases – with a limit of two drinks.
This would require only a small amount of effort and the vast majority of people would be happy with such an arrangement.
But the idea was described as “highly draconian” by the airport operator.
“The behaviour of some individuals on the Ryanair flight in question was clearly unacceptable,” a spokeswoman said.
She pointed out that Dublin airport had “worked in the past with Ryanair and other airlines, the Irish Aviation Authority, the gardaí [police] and airport police on a joint education campaign to stress that such behaviour in totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the airport”.
She added that the airport would continue to work “with its airline customers and all other agencies in relation to this issue and will again remind the licence holders in its bars and restaurants of their responsibilities in this area”.
However, she said Ryanair’s suggested response was “a highly draconian one that would affect all passengers because of the behaviour of a very small minority of airline travellers”.