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The court case of an off-duty drunk pilot who threatened to blow up an Emirates’ aircraft went to trial last week.

On June 1, Emirates flight 144 took off from Madrid (MAD) en-route to Dubai (DXB) when an off-duty pilot, who was traveling as a passenger, started causing commotion on the flight. An Emirates spokesperson told TPG that he was not a pilot for Emirates but a pilot who resides in the United Arab Emirates.

Even before take-off eyebrows were being raised. The 27-year-old pilot asked a Romanian flight attendant if smoking was allowed on the aircraft — a question any pilot would already know the answer to. Then soon after being seated, the man in question assaulted the same flight attendant and cursed at other passengers.

“He would call for us and was insulting,” the Romanian flight attendant testified in court, adding that the pilot slapped her chest and threw his shoe at her.

The pilot then grabbed two beers and more liquor from the galley behind the crew’s back and started banging the door of an occupied restroom.

At this point, the crew tried to calm down the man and talk some sense into him. He continued his rude and aggressive behavior leading to a flight attendant and fellow passenger to restrain him with handcuffs.

Once handcuffed, the pilot became violent and started issuing threats against the crew. He banged his head so hard against the seat-back entertainment unit and window that the TV screen broke.

According to FlightRadar24, Emirates was operating a Boeing 777-300 on the route the day of the incident. The flight history doesn’t appear to show an abnormal flight path.

“He also threatened to kill me … and claimed that he would blow up the plane because he was carrying explosives,” the Romanian flight attendant said.

He reportedly caused more than 10,000 AED ($2,722 USD) worth of damages to the aircraft.

Police were waiting at the gate when the aircraft landed and arrested the off-duty pilot. The pilot pleaded guilty to the charges in court.

“Emirates can confirm that on June 1, 2018, an incident occurred during flight EK144 from Madrid to Dubai, whereby an unruly passenger was restrained by cabin crew,” a spokesperson for the airline told TPG in an emailed statement. “The passenger was met by authorities in Dubai on arrival. The safety of our passengers and crew is of critical importance and will not be compromised. The matter is now before the courts, and Emirates cannot comment further on the incident.”

Featured image by Caribb/Flickr.

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