Back in 2007 the state of New Mexico pulled US Airways liquor license due to an incident involving a drunk passenger in 2006. This passenger had a lot to drink on the flight and ended up killing six people including himself. Of course, this is a horrid tragedy and should have never happened, but one that is not the direct fault of the airline.
The FAA decided not to take any action against US Airways, but the state of New Mexico demanded the airline followed their Liquor Control Act and revoked their liquor license. Although the airline probably should have cut off the passenger from having more to drink, it was the passenger’s personal responsibility to make theÂ decisionÂ not to drive, not the airline’s. Who knew if someone was to pick him up, he had a layover or was taking a taxi.
US Airways fought New Mexico stating that the state had no authority to stop them from selling alcohol since it was a federal issue. The airline took the state to Federal court and in October 2009, the Federal court sided with the state of New Mexico. US Airways was not satisfied with the outcome and took the case to the federal appeals court. Last Friday, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with US Airways, reversing the decision the previous federal judge made, stating that judge failed to balance state and federal interests. The court showedÂ that the airline is already regulated by the Federal Aviation Act and the state must follow the 21st Amendment.
Now the case will head back to the district court to be re-tried, hopefully in giving US Airways the right to serve alcohol in all 50 states . Cheers to the 10th Circuit court for overturning New Mexico’s poor decision and US Airways for moving this case forward.Source: Business Week