Sunday, February 12, 2006

US pilot suspected of drinking, arrested in Britain

An American Airlines pilot was arrested in Britain on Saturday on suspicion of being drunk before a scheduled flight to Chicago, the airline said.

A statement by the world's No. 1 airline said the crew member was a relief pilot on the Boeing 767-300 with 198 passengers, meaning he was a backup to the captain and first officer. The crew member was not identified.

He was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol after reporting for duty at Manchester airport, the carrier said. A court appearance was scheduled for Monday.

American said in a statement it was investigating and would not provide additional details.

"Our primary concern is for the safety and comfort of our passengers and crews," the airline said. "American Airlines has strict policies on alcohol and substance abuse and holds its employees to the highest standards."

Flight 55 was due to arrive in Chicago shortly after 4 p.m. local time, three hours late. The plane was scheduled to stop in New York to supplement the crew.


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