A JetBlue airline pilot was removed from the cockpit minutes before takeoff because he had a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit for flying.
According to reports from various media outlets, the incident occurred at a New York airport, when the pilot was subjected to a breathalyzer test after the police removed him from the plane.
The flight would depart from Buffalo Niagara, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to the report, reproduced by the Telemundo 47 portal, 52-year-old James Clifton was described as “visibly drunk” when he went through security before boarding the plane, prompting agents from the Transportation Security Administration to notify police.
The results showed that his alcohol level was 0.17%, exceeding more than four times the level allowed for pilots of 0.4%.
According to the specialized flight portal Flight Aware, JetBlue flight 2465, scheduled to leave Buffalo at 6:15 am, was delayed four hours and 10 minutes. The plane took off at 10:25 am and landed in Florida at 1:11 pm.
“According to the Federal Aviation Administration rulebook, pilots may not consume alcohol within eight hours of a flight and may not have a blood alcohol content greater than 0.04%. An FAA brochure on pilot safety summarizes the rule as eight hours from bottle to throttle,” reported Noticias Telemundo.
According to the portal, JetBlue reported that the pilot was removed from his duties.
“The safety of JetBlue customers and crew members is our first priority. We adhere to all Department of Transportation rules and requirements regarding alcohol at all times and have a very strict internal zero tolerance policy on alcohol,” the company said in a statement.
“We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are fully cooperating with law enforcement. We are also conducting our own internal investigation,” the company added.