An American Airlines flight from Manchester to Philadelphia was cancelled after a pilot was found to be under the influence of alcohol.
The pilot’s name has not been released, but the 62-years old was arrested on suspicion of performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol. The arrest forced American Airlines to cancel the flight.
American Airlines was guarded in response, though did not seek to deny or downplay the incident.
American Airlines is aware of an incident involving a member of its crew at Manchester Airport earlier this morning.
The employee was detained and the flight, AA735 to Philadelphia, has been cancelled. Safety is our highest priority and we apologise to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans, we have rebooked them on alternative flights.
We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them.
Passengers will receive 15,000 AA miles plus EU261/2004 compensation of at least 400EUR for the delay.
As View from the Wing notes, “Pilots hide not just alcohol abuse but mental health conditions and that points to a fundamental conundrum: you want pilots to be open and seek help in order to promote safety, but once they’re open they’re a clearly identified risk and get removed from the cockpit.”
I write about these drunken incidents because they befuddle me. Why? Why would a pilot not know better? Trust me, I’m not projecting scorn from a “holier than thou” perch. I know human beings are prone to all sorts of weakness and proclivities. But a pilot is placed in such a position of trust. By drinking before duty, a pilot violates…shatters…that trust and demonstrates a wanton disregard for human life.
I believe in second chances and redemption, but not for drunk pilots. As far as I am concerned, he’s forfeited any chance to be given so much trust in the future as a pilot. But I sure hope he gets the help he needs and finds the road to recovery.
Am I being too harsh?