Czechs ban booze from government planes after alleged harassment scandal

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Gone are the days of three-course meals and bottomless Chardonnay aboard government aircraft for Czech ministerial delegations.

Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová banned alcohol consumption on government planes following an alleged sexual harassment scandal during a trip to South Korea in April. The incident that preceded the booze ban allegedly involved a military doctor who was a member of a transport ministry delegation, who allegedly inappropriately touched a woman who was administering a COVID-19 test aboard a government jet in South Korea.

Transport Minister Martin Kupka had said the doctor was “not in the best condition,” hinting he may have been drunk. The man, who denies the accusations, has been in South Korea since the alleged incident.

Czech politicians often use private military planes for official government business. The standard ministerial onboard refreshments — a hot meal, salad, dessert, snacks, beer and wine — were previously funded by the defense ministry.

But those days are now over.

Ministries and state institution officials will have to pay for their own in-flight refreshments, according to Czech newspaper Hospodářské noviny.

“Not much has changed for us, we just have to pay for ourselves for [non-alcoholic] drinks and food,” a spokesperson for the ministry of transport, František Jemelka, told POLITICO.

The defense ministry did not respond to a request for comment at the time of writing.