A proposal in the state legislature would allow travelers at Missouri’s two busiest airports to carry alcoholic beverages into the concourses.
The measure lets customers leave bars and restaurants at Lambert-St. Louis International and Kansas City International airports, and mingle about other portions of the secured areas with a cocktail.
Retailers would be required to serve their beverages in containers displaying their name or logo. While noting that only people boarding flights are allowed in airport concourses, House Democrat Bob Burns of Affton said he’d be in favor of the measure during a committee hearing Wednesday.
“So you get a drink at a bar or restaurant, and you don’t want to chug it” said Burns. “Or you don’t want to have to run to get to your gate, and those concourses are kind of long. So this just brings us into where you can have it in the concourse.”
Republican Bart Korman of High Hill also endorsed the proposal, but asked for it to be applied to airports statewide.
“We always get criticized up here that we give a caveat to one town or one area, and not the other” said Korman. “Or we discriminate against one area and not the other, instead of it being open to all airports in the state.” Korman mentioned that airports in Branson and Columbia could be interested in enacting the drink policy.
Burns said it would make sense to implement the policy statewide, noting it would help update operations at the facilities.
“Into the 21st century, it makes it more convenient for the people purchasing the drinks who are going to be traveling” said Burns. “It makes it easier for the people who run the bars and restaurants.”
The practice is currently allowed in a limited number of U.S. terminals. Nashville International Airport began allowing alcoholic beverages in concourses in 2014. It was implemented through blanket liquor and beer permits acquired by the Metro Nashville Airport Authority through the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
As introduced in the Missouri House Transportation Committee by sponsor Noel Shull (R-Kansas City), the proposal only applied to St. Louis-Lambert International, but was expanded by the panel to include Kansas City International.
It was approved by an 11-1 margin Wednesday. Committee members discussed further expanding it to cover the entire state once the measure advances to the House floor. It’s scheduled to next be heard by the chamber’s Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee.
The proposal received support in the Transportation Committee by Anheuser Busch and HMSHost/D&D Concession.s