Flydubai Pilot Found Intoxicated Before Operating 5-Hour Flight
A pilot for budget airline Flydubai failed an alcohol test at an airport in Nepal on Sunday, after his flight crew suspected he was intoxicated before he got in the cockpit.
The flight's captain was found "to have a blood alcohol level above the legally acceptable level,” an airline spokesperson told Reuters on Monday. Flydubai said it would be further investigating the incident, along with the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority, and the pilot would be reprimanded.
Under UAE law, any crew member that tests positive for alcohol while on duty could lose their license permanently.
“The GCAA takes passengers' safety and security very seriously thus enforce a zero tolerance policy for those exceeding the regulation on all UAE Airlines,” the aviation body told Reuters.
The unidentified pilot was tested before boarding the plane, and the airline flew in a replacement crew to take over the nearly five-hour trip from Kathmandu (KTM) to Dubai (DXB) on Flight 8018.
As a result, the flight ultimately arrived at DXB 10 hours and 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival.
There has been a recent spate of intoxicated pilot incidents in addition to the Flydubai situation. In June, a British Airways pilot pleaded guilty to being drunk in the cockpit (a breathalyzer test found he was nearly six times over the legal limit for UK pilots), and an ex-pilot for Alaska Airlines was sentenced earlier in July for having flown drunk in 2014 — a random breathalyzer test found that he was nearly three times the legal limit for US pilots right after having operated two flights.