On Thursday, at approximately 11 am, a 62-year-old American Airlines pilot was arrested in Manchester, England on “suspicion of performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol.”
The pilot, whose name hasn’t been released, was scheduled to fly American Airlines flight 735, an Airbus A330-243 to Philadelphia. The flight was expected to take off only minutes after the arrest. According to reports, the pilot was arrested either after boarding the plane, or after having reached the gate.
Although the flight was canceled, passengers received 15,000 frequent flyer miles for the inconvenience. Also, under European law, if you're traveling to or from Europe, and your flight is delayed more than three hours, you could be entitled to approximately $700 in compensation.
An American Airlines pilot has been arrested on suspicion of being drunk https://t.co/hvS0Y8G4CJ— TIME (@TIME) February 8, 2019
American Airlines issued a statement regarding the allegedly intoxicated pilot in which they said they were “aware of an incident involving a member of its crew at Manchester Airport yesterday morning. The employee was detained and the flight, AA735 to Philadelphia, was cancelled.”
“Safety is our highest priority and we apologize to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans; all were rebooked on alternative flights. We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them,” the airline added.
Just last month, a Delta pilot was arrested in the Netherlands for allegedly flying while intoxicated. Also, last November, a Japan Airlines pilot who arrived for a London-to-Tokyo flight while almost 10 times over the alcohol limit was sentenced to 10 months in prison. Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, was scheduled to fly from Heathrow to Tokyo on October 28 but failed a breathalyzer test shortly before takeoff.
Also in October, All Nippon Airways apologized after a pilot was unable to fly after a night of heavy drinking, which resulted in delays to five domestic flights. And in June, British Airways pilot Julian Monaghan was sentenced to eight months in prison after he was found to be more than four times over the alcohol limit before a flight from London Gatwick to Mauritius.
Pilots must adhere to stricter standards than drivers when it comes to alcohol. In the US, pilots are not allowed to fly with more than 0.04 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration while in Europe the limit is 0.02 percent. Also, in the US, pilots who attempt to fly or fly while intoxicated can face criminal charges and up to 15 years in prison.