October 20, 2008

Pilot Booked on Suspicion of Being Drunk

Authorities arrested a pilot at London Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being drunk just before his transatlantic flight was to take off, authorities said.

The United Airlines flight to San Francisco was delayed for nearly three hours Sunday until a replacement was found, The Sun reported.

A member of the ground crew tipped the police, who arrested the pilot after he failed a Breathalyzer test, the British newspaper said. After posting bail, the man was ordered to return to Heathrow airport police station in January.

United Airlines said it suspended the pilot until the police investigation concludes. An airline spokesman said United's alcohol policy "is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for abuse or violation of this well-established policy."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the pilot was arrested on "suspicion of being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit."