‘Drunken’ Jet Airways pilot held at Heathrow, taken off India flight

December 23rd, 2008 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 23 (IANS) A Jet Airways pilot was arrested by armed police after staff at London’s Heathrow airport warned he may have drunk too much to fly, a newspaper reported Tuesday quoting police.Michael Harr, a 62-year-old ex-US marine, was taken off the flight to Mumbai Sunday by officers and subsequently failed a breath test at 9.30 a.m. in the morning, The Sun reported.

He was due to be first officer on the Boeing 777 flight and was in the cockpit, preparing for take-off when police took him away.

An airport source told the paper: “Security were immediately suspicious about him and deemed that he wasn’t fit to fly. He was arrested and now faces losing his job. He is only a couple of years away from retirement and has blown everything.”

Airline pilots are banned from drinking alcohol less than eight hours before flying and are deemed unfit to fly if they are a quarter of the drink-drive limit.

The source told The Sun that Harr had been partying with “younger” members of the crew Saturday night.

A Jet Airways official said: “The first pilot was replaced and passengers were only delayed by 10 minutes.”

A spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police said: “At approximately 09.30 a.m. on Sunday December 21, officers attended an aircraft at Heathrow Airport and arrested a man aged 62.

“He was arrested on suspicion of being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the proscribed alcohol limit - contrary to Section 93 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. A breath test was administered.”

Harr has been bailed to reappear in court at a later date.

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