BA pilot and crew arrested on drink charges

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The Independent Online

A British Airways pilot and two members of his crew were arrested yesterday on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol shortly before they were due to fly.

BA confirmed the arrests of the pilot, first officer and cabin crew member of Flight BA761, which was due to leave Oslo for Heathrow at 5.45am GMT.

The airline said: "We have launched a full investigation into an alleged breach of the airline's rules on alcohol consumption before duty involving three crew members in Oslo.

"Norwegian police were alerted to this alleged breach by BA staff. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any alleged abuse."

The flight was cancelled and the 55 passengers put on other flights run by Scandinavian airlines. "All passengers have now left Oslo and are back in Britain," a BA spokesman said last night.

The crew were later released and are free to return home while the Norwegian authorities carry out tests on their blood samples.

BA flight crews have, in the past, faced damaging allegations of drinking. In January, a pilot was arrested in the cockpit of his Airbus after failing a breath test half an hour before he was due to take off from Stockholm. Simon Robinson, 53, told police that he had drunk "quite a lot" the night before.

The Railways and Transport Safety Act, which was passed in September, set an alcohol limit for pilots of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, which is a quarter of the limit for drivers. No date has been set for the limit to be introduced.

British Airways rules state that crews should drink no alcohol in the eight hours before flying and there should be no residual alcohol in the bloodstream when they report for duty.

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