LONDON – A United Airlines pilot was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being over the legal alcohol limit, police confirmed on Monday.
The airline said the pilot, 44, was removed from service, adding that it would co-operate with police inquiries and was conducting its own investigation of the incident.
“At approximately 9:00 am on Sunday, officers attended an aircraft at Heathrow Terminal One and arrested a 44-year-old man,” a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said, without stating the nationality of the pilot.
She said the man, who was not identified, had been bailed to return to Heathrow police station on January 16.
“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,” United Airlines said in a statement.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with authorities and conducting a full investigation.”
According to The Sun tabloid, the man was a first officer and was due to fly to San Francisco before he was arrested.
The legal limit of alcohol for pilots is nine micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, compared to the British drink-drive limit, which is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.