Delta Air Lines pilot arrested prior to flight for exceeding alcohol limit

increation87 / Olena Yakobchuk /

Bad weather conditions, engine maintenance, lack of crew – these are some common factors that passengers are used to hearing to explain canceled flights..

However, the reason why a Delta Air Lines flight from Edinburgh Airport (EDI) to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport (JFK) on June 16, 2023 was canceled is something you probably haven’t heard before: the pilot was arrested just prior to takeoff.

The arrest was made 35 minutes before the scheduled takeoff time, while passengers were in the process of boarding the aircraft.

Police Scotland have confirmed with various media outlets that the arrest was made and an investigation is ongoing, with the arrest being made in connection with the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.

 “Around 10am on Friday, 16 June, a 61-year-old man was arrested at Edinburgh Airport in connection with the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. The man was subsequently charged and is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday 19 June, 2023. A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal,” a Police Scotland spokesperson told The Herald Scotland.

A Delta Air Lines spokesperson also confirmed with AirLive that one of its crew had been taken into custody at EDI Airport, and that the airline is now assisting the authorities with their ongoing enquiries.

Under the Railways and Transportation Act 2003, a pilot’s blood alcohol is limited to a level of 0.02, compared to the legal limit of 0.08 for driving. This means that even just a small amount of alcohol detected within a pilot’s system would be enough to prohibit them from legally operating an aircraft. 

If found guilty of being intoxicated prior to operating a flight, the veteran pilot could face imprisonment, fines and revocation of their pilot license.

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