United Airlines was forced to cancel its daily service from Edinburgh to Newark on Saturday after Scottish police reportedly arrested one of the pilots after a stun gun was discovered in his carry-on during routine security screening.
High-voltage stun guns like Tasers are officially classed as firearms in the United Kingdom and are strictly prohibited. Possessing a firearm can result in a lengthy jail sentence.
The 56-year-old male pilot has already been charged with a firearms offence and is expected to appear before a judge in Edinburgh on Monday. United Airlines confirmed that it has removed the unidentified pilot from service pending the outcome of the police investigation.
United Airlines flight 37 was due to depart Edinburgh at 9:25 am, but the airline is now scrambling to rebook disrupted passengers onto alternative services to the United States.
The Boeing 757 due to operate the flight has a capacity of up to 176 passengers.
According to local media, the stun gun was discovered by airport security staff during routine screening as the pilot and the other crew were making their way to the aircraft.
In the United Kingdom, there is no special dispensation afforded to aircrew that negates the requirement for the same level of security screening that regular passengers are subject to.
Last September, a flight attendant was arrested at Philadelphia Airport after she was caught trying to take a loaded handgun through the TSA security checkpoint. The loaded .380 calibre Ruger semiautomatic handgun was found in her purse and had five rounds in the magazine but no rounds in the chamber.
In the past, pilot and flight attendant unions in the United States have urged their members to double-check the contents of their bags before embarking on a trip, especially an international rotation, where weapons laws are very different to back at home.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.