American Airlines pilot arrested on suspicion of trying to fly while drunk

Helen Coffey

An American Airlines flight to Philadelphia was cancelled after the pilot was arrested on suspicion of being drunk.

The 62-year-old unnamed crew member was detained at Manchester Airport on 7 February and flight AA735 to the US was canned as a result.

American Airlines apologised for the disruption and said in a statement: “We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them.”

The airline confirmed all affected passengers had been rebooked on alternative flights.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that officers attended the scene and arrested a man on suspicion of “performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol”.

A GMP spokesperson said: “He has since been bailed pending further inquiries.”

It’s the latest in a long line of incidents involving pilots attempting to fly while over the limit.

In November, an Air India pilot who failed two breathalyser tests before he was due to operate a flight from Delhi to London lost his pilot’s licence.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian civil aviation regulator, confirmed Arvind Kathpalia, who is also the airline’s operations director, was suspended from flying for three years.

Last month, a Japanese pilot delayed five flights when he was found to be over the limit before boarding, according to All Nippon Airways (ANA).

The captain was due to serve domestic flight NH501 from Osaka Itami in central Japan to Miyazaki, a city on the southern island of Kyushu.

During a pre-boarding inspection, the crew member of ANA Wings, an affiliate airline of ANA, tested positively for alcohol. As a result, the airline had to switch crew, delaying five flights in total.