For those who love their daily tipple the sky will no longer be the limit.
Sources say the Ministry of Civil Aviation is contemplating allowing locally made “mild alcoholic beverages” (wine and beer) on board domestic airlines.
However when the bars in the sky will be opened has not been decided. “We have had representations from growers of sugarcane, barley and hops (ingredients for making beer) keen on mild alcoholic beverages being served on domestic flights. It is an international norm. Why shouldn’t the domestic carriers serve it?” asks a source in the civil aviation ministry.
The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) has also been making representations to the government for allowing domestic carriers to serve wine and beer on board domestic carriers.
Currently, sale and consumption of alcohol on domestic flights is prohibited by a Government order.
The consultative committee on civil aviation is in favour of “mild alcoholic beverage” being served on domestic flights. Airlines feel the practice will help improve bottom-lines.
Says Jitendra Bhargava, executive director of state-run carrier Air India, “Once the policy is in place we will also abide by it. We have to compete with other airlines,” he said.
Fliers reactions on the proposal are mixed. “How does it matter if you are enjoying a drink on the ground or 30,000 feet above it,” says a frequent flier. However women’s organisations are against the move. “It will lead to a rise in incidents of drunken misbehaviour,” says former National Commission for Women chairperson Girija Vyas.
Those who serve: USA, UK, Spain, France, Australia, Russia, Armenia, South Africa
Those who don’t: Pakistan, UAE, most West Asian countries
Banned in India about a decade ago, after repeated complaints of unruly behaviour by fliers after consumption of alcohol.