Heathrow pilot stopped after breath test

A pilot was arrested on a passenger jet on suspicion of being drunk, British police confirmed today.

The 44-year-old man was arrested following a breath test as the plane waited at Terminal One of London’s Heathrow Airport yesterday morning.

The man was a first officer for United Airlines and was due to embark on a flight to San Francisco prior to his arrest, the Sun newspaper reported.

He has been bailed to return to Heathrow police station in January.

A Met spokeswoman said: “At approximately 9am on Sunday, officers attended an aircraft at Heathrow Terminal One and arrested a 44-year-old man.

“The man arrested is bailed to return to Heathrow police station on January 16 pending further enquiries.”

A police source said the man had been arrested on suspicion of “being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit”.

The legal limit for pilots is nine micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

This is more than three times stricter than the drink-drive limit which is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

A United Airlines statement read: “United’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for abuse of violation of this well-established policy.

“Safety is our number one priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with authorities and conducting a full investigation.”


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