Drunken airline pilot cleared by district court

A Scandinavian Airlines pilot who failed a breathalyzer test prior to be scheduled to fly a plane out of Arlanda airport in May this year, has been cleared by the Attunda District Court.

Drunken airline pilot cleared by district court

“This is the first case of flying under the influence tried in a court and it is new legislation that is being tested,” said Tommy Larsson of the Swedish Airline Pilots Association (Svensk Pilotförening) to news agency TT, adding that they were happy with the result.

The court found that it wasn’t proven that the man had started an assignment of “essential importance for air safety” when he was found to be over the limit, which would have been necessary to find him guilty of flying under the influence.

Had the pilot begun the security checks of the aircraft, he would have been convicted, according to the court.

The Scandinavian Airlines crew members were asked to take the test in May while they were carrying out their duties prior to take-off. One of the pilots turned out to be over the legal limit.

According to an Aftonbladet source, the man had been 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 take-off.

After testing positive for alcohol the man was not allowed to fly and has since been relieved of his duties and has lost his flight certificate.

The court does not contest that the man was not in any state to fly the plane, but found that he could not be found guilty of flying under the influence, which was good news according to the Pilot’s Association:

“We don’t defend his actions, just the criminal charge. It is important to separate what is written in the SAS policy and in the legislation,” said Larsson to TT.

New rules came into effect in September 2010, making it possible for police to carry out checks on crew. At the Arlanda and Bromma airports near Stockholm, 1,452 people have been checked between January and September 2012.

TT/The Local/rm

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.