Two pilots were arrested on suspicion of being drunk in the cockpit of a Toronto-bound flight, shortly before it was scheduled to take off from an airport in Scotland.
Authorities say the two Air Transat pilots, aged 37 and 39, were arrested at the Glasgow Airport on Monday and charged with “being impaired through alcohol.”
Air Transat says it is aware of the arrest and will await the results of the investigation before commenting further.
“The safety of our crews and passengers is, and will remain, a top priority at Air Transat,” the company said in a statement.
A crewmember reported the pilots after they exhibited concerning behaviour.
“It’s amazing that they got that far before they were indeed caught,” Kyle Bailey, a pilot and airline analyst, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. He said pilots typically encounter 25-30 passengers and members of the crew before they enter the cockpit, so it’s no surprise that someone took note of their behaviour.
“If they are in fact found guilty, they’re pretty much blacklisted and their career is over,” Bailey said.
Aviation analyst Marc-Antoine Plourde pointed out that drinking rules vary from country to country, but the “general rule” is that pilots should wait at least eight hours after drinking to get behind the stick of an aircraft. However, he says, the U.K. has tighter rules and guidelines around alcohol and flying.
TV personalities Justin Ryan and Colin McAllister, who were on the flight with the accused pilots, said the situation was only a “hassle” because of the delay. However, they also told Toronto radio station NewsTalk 1010 that it “could have been much worse if that airplane had taken to the sky with two pilots that were drunk.”