Yet Another Story This Industry Does NOT Need
ANN regrets to report
that facts are emerging in which yet another pilot has been pulled
from a duty flight, for the aroma of alcohol that accompanied him.
An Air Canada pilot, said to be boarding to serve as a "backup"
pilot for a B777 flight from London, England, to Calgary, Alberta
was confronted by security after a Heathrow guard claimed to have
smelled alcohol emanating from the pilot.
British Police stated that they, "attended an aircraft at
Heathrow Airport and arrested a 45-year-old man... He was arrested
on suspicion of being aviation staff performing an aviation
function while exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit."
The flight, Air Canada Flight 851, took place on April 16th. The
pilot was administered a breathalyzer test, released on bail, and
ordered to return to the Heathrow PD on June 12th.
Air Canada hasn't said much but has confirmed that the story,
which made the rounds of all the Brit tabloids. Peter Fitzpatrick,
a spokesperson for the airline said that the police "reported that
they thought they detected an odor of alcohol on the pilot as he
was passing through airport security."
Fitzpatrick also clarified that the pilot, unnamed in all the
legal hub-bub by the Police or Air Canada, was "a backup pilot,
referred to as the relief or augmentation pilot. He wasn't
scheduled to fly, he wasn't going to be operating the aircraft
— I think that's an important point to note."
The action resulted in a fairly small delay, about 20 minutes,
for the flight which carried a reported load of 300 passengers.
Air Canada states that despite the "backup" role, the pilot
would have been required to cease all alcoholic consumption at
least 12 hours before the flight. "The Transport Canada rule is
eight hours, but we have that additional buffer for safety reasons.
The bottom line is that pilots are not supposed to have a drink for
12 hours before they operate an aircraft."
The 45 year old pilot has been suspended pending further