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British Airways pilot drunk at take-off

The captain, his co-pilot and a female purser of a British Airways flight were arrested at Oslo Gardermoen airport after failing a breathalyzer test.

The total crew of seven was on board the British Airways plane, ready to receive the passengers for the flight to Heathrow, London, when the police arrived.

“We received an anonymous phone call and reacted immediately,” said Arvid Furuly, station officer at Gardermoen police station to the Norwegian paper Romerikes Blad. “Three of the seven members of the crew did not pass the test. We have taken blood tests and we will question them this afternoon.”

The captain, age 59, the co-pilot, age 26, and a female purser, age 48, were visible intoxicated, according to information relayed to the paper. The three individuals are British citizens.

According to John Arne Langhelle, section chief at Gardermoen police station, this is the first time in the international airport’s history members of a crew have been arrested with a blood alcohol level.

“As far as I know, this has never happened here before,” Langehelle said. “We view this case as very serious. They are subject to very strict regulations, among these, professional abstinence.”

The police will know the exact blood alcohol level of the three individuals in two to three weeks time.

“We have zero tolerance when it comes to personnel matters involving alcohol,” said a spokesperson at the British Airways headquarters in England to the paper. “At the same time, I would like to point out that these are only claims, and they have not been confirmed yet.”

He added that most of the 55 passengers were moved to a SAS flight, and the travellers were therefore not affected by this event to a large degree.


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