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Drunken airline pilot stopped at Arlanda

Drunken airline pilot stopped at Arlanda

Published: 10 May 2012 08:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 May 2012 08:08 GMT+02:00

A Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) pilot scheduled to fly a plane out of Stockholm's Arlanda airport on Tuesday afternoon was stopped from leaving after failing a breathalyzer test.

“We can confirm that one person was caught at a routine check that police carried out,“ said Jessica Fremnell of the Arlanda police to daily Aftonbladet.

The SAS crew members were carrying out their duties on Tuesday when theywere asked to take the test and one of the pilots turned out to be over the legal limit.

According to an Aftonbladet source, the man was working on the outer safety checks of the craft when he tested positive for alcohol in the border police test.

The man had a blood alcohol content of over 1.0 promille, which is 0.8 promille over the limit. The limit in Sweden is a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.2 promille alcohol, both for driving and flying.

However, at SAS, the rules are even stricter, prohibiting pilots to fly unless they are under the 0.2 promille limit eight hours before takeoff.

After testing positive for alcohol the man was not allowed to fly the scheduled flight later in the afternoon.

The company were unwilling to disclose the destination to where the man was supposed to fly and told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) that they view the incident as a “personnel issue” and not a security risk.

“We are aware of the situation and take what has happened extremely seriously. We support the border police’s work to a 100 percent,” said Rebecka Södergren from SAS to Aftonbladet.

This is the first time someone has tested positive for alcohol at Arlanda since new rules came into effect in September 2010, making it possible for police to carry out checks on crew.

Göran Adbro, chairman of the Swedish Airline Pilots’ Association (Svensk Pilotförening) has never before heard of any Swedish pilot being caught in a breathalyzer test.

“There is a zero tolerance policy for drinking and we stand by that,” he said to Aftonbladet.

After the discovery of the inebriated pilot, Scandinavian Airlines will be carrying out its own internal investigation alongside that of the police, according to DN.

The Local/rm


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:45 May 10, 2012 by byke
If I was caught having being that drunk, id be pissed.
08:46 May 10, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Good work stopping this guy. 5 times over the limit. I hope it is not a random inspection, and that all pilots get tested all the time.

To increase safety in countries where they are less digilent within their airports, mabye every commerical aircraft should be equipped with a breathalizer machine in the passenger seating area. After the safety demonstration, all pilots could come out of the cockpit and blow into the breathalizer so that all of the passengers can see that they are fit to fly the aircraft.
10:11 May 10, 2012 by hjoian
Breath tests should be mandatory for pilots and crew before flight briefings.
10:47 May 10, 2012 by EtoileBrilliant
Anecdotal evidence suggests that within the airline industry everyone knows who the culprits are but lack the mechanism to report a colleague. What is needed is an effective whistle-blower system where staff can report on their colleagues anonymously.
10:47 May 10, 2012 by jack sprat
Not the first apparently.


I well recall drinking into the early hours with a Canadian pilot c/w aircrew and cabin staff, just a few hours before they were due to fly a 747 out of Tenerife.
11:38 May 10, 2012 by McChatter
"However, at SAS, the rules are even stricter, prohibiting pilots to fly unless they are under the 0.2 promille limit eight hours before takeoff." That leaves an awful long time to get over the limit!
11:54 May 10, 2012 by cogito
Huh? You call eight hours strict? (#6).

I believe U.S. carriers prohibit pilot consumption of alcohol for 24 hours before a flight.
17:35 May 10, 2012 by kloster
"The company were unwilling to disclose the destination to where the man was supposed to fly and told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) that they view the incident as a "personnel issue" and not a security risk."

Sorry SAS but please wake up, drunken pilots are a security risk. With this attitude it is hardly surprising SAS losses money year after year after year and well run companies are making ever increasing profits. Ryan air -which now is transporting 70-80 million more passengers a year now than SAS. Norwegian has placed huge orders to increase its fleet. Both companies do view drunken pilots as a security risk.

SAS get rid of drunken pilots and staff who don´t view them as a security risk and wake up.
17:46 May 10, 2012 by mats223
I heard that last week Air Baltic pilot was arrested in Riga for same reason.
05:21 May 11, 2012 by Lunneia
Typical! That is what happens when a people cant wait to be 18 to drink, and in a society where a high school diploma is respected much more than a PhD!
16:20 May 11, 2012 by wakak
So, SAS do not give anything to drink to its customers, unlike passenger friendly companies like Swiss or Air France. On SAS, you do not even get a glass of water.

But their pilots apparently drink as much as they want!

It is not a surprise that SAS loses money then.
17:28 May 11, 2012 by cogito
I flew from Paris to Stockholm with Air France recently for less than an SAS ticket for the same day/same route.

AF served the passengers dinner with wine.

SAS was charging for water.
13:39 May 12, 2012 by skylarkpilot
I stopped flying with SAS years ago when they adopted the same attitudes as BA in-so-much-as they appear to think they are doing you a favour to let you fly with them. Ryanair customer service may be awful, but at least you get what you pay for. A cheap no frills flight to where you want to be.

SAS may think it a personal issue for the pilot. It would be an even more personal issue for the families of the people he killed when he stuffed it up !

I normally would not call for someone to lose their jobs without knowing the precise circumstances, but this person was in a position of responsibility for possibly a couple of hundred peoples lives. Should they ever let someone like that fly again ?
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