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Delta Air Pilot Arrested and Taken into Custody at Edinburgh Airport After Passengers Had Already Boarded JFK-Bound Plane

Delta Air Pilot Arrested and Taken into Custody at Edinburgh Airport After Passengers Had Already Boarded JFK-Bound Plane

the nose of a plane

Delta Air Lines has confirmed that it was forced to cancel a flight from Edinburgh, Scotland, to New York JFK at the last minute on Friday after a pilot was arrested by police after passengers had reportedly already boarded the plane that was meant to take them stateside.

The veteran 61-year-old crew member, who has since been identified as a pilot for the Atlanta-based airline, was due to fly back to New York JFK aboard Delta Air flight DL209 but is now expected to appear before a Scottish court charged with an offence under Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.

In a statement, Police Scotland said enquiries are still ongoing, but the law which was used to detain the long-serving crew member who was approaching retirement covers specific alcohol-consumption rules for airline pilots and flight attendants.

Under the RTSA, crew members must not exceed a blood alcohol level of just 20 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. In comparison, the drink-drive limit in Scotland is just 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

The maximum penalty for anyone found guilty of being “over the prescribed limit” is a two-year jail sentence.

In 2019, however, an American Airlines flight attendant swerved a prison sentence after she was found guilty of ‘drink flying’ after she was arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being over the prescribed limit.

In that incident, security officers at the crew member checkpoint said they could smell alcohol on her breath and called the police, who took her into custody. At the police station, a blood test revealed that the flight attendant was more than four times over the limit.

The year before, a Japan Airlines pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail following a similar incident at Heathrow Airport. The First Officer allegedly cheated a mandatory alcohol test that all Japan Airlines flight crew must complete before operating a flight but suspicious staff called in the police, who conducted their own test.

First Officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa allegedly drank two bottles of wine and over a litre and a half of beer the night before he was due to work, tipping him over the prescribed limit.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Delta said: “Delta confirms that one of its crew was taken into custody (on Friday) at EDI Airport. Delta is assisting the authorities with their ongoing enquiries.”

“Delta’s EDI-JFK flight (June 16) has been cancelled, and customers are being re-accommodated. We apologise to customers impacted by this cancellation.”

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