'Over-the-limit' American Airlines pilot arrested at Manchester Airport

Airbus A321-200 departing Los Angeles International Airport. Image copyright American Airlines
Image caption American Airlines apologised to pasengers who were delayed as a result of the incident

An American Airlines pilot was arrested at Manchester Airport on suspicion of being over the alcohol limit just minutes before a transatlantic flight.

Greater Manchester Police said it received a report shortly before 11:00 GMT on Thursday that a pilot "may have been under the influence of alcohol".

A 62-year-old man, who has not been named, was arrested and subsequently bailed pending further inquiries.

Flight AA735 to Philadelphia had been scheduled to leave at 11:05 GMT.

It was cancelled following the pilot's arrest, with passengers booked on to alternative services.


The pilot was arrested on suspicion of performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol, police said.

It is illegal for pilots in the UK to have more than 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in their system.

The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg. In Scotland it is 50mg.

American Airlines told reporters: "Safety is our highest priority and we apologise to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans.

"We are fully co-operating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them."

In November, a Japanese pilot was given a 10-month prison sentence for being almost 10 times over the alcohol limit while preparing to take off from Heathrow Airport.

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