GLASGOW, Scotland, Aug. 28 (UPI) — Two United Airlines pilots suspected of boarding a plane while intoxicated were arrested in the cockpit Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland.
The men, 35 and 45 years old, whose names have not yet been released, are both believed to be U.S. citizens, BBC reported.
The men were scheduled to pilot a 9 a.m. flight from Glasgow to Newark, N.J. The plane later took off with a new flight crew. The pilots are expected to appear Monday before the Paisley Sheriff Court.
Scottish police said the arrests were made under the Railways and Transport Safety Act of 2003, which covers “carrying out pilot function or activity while exceeding the prescribed limit of alcohol.”
United issued a statement saying both pilots had been relieved of duty pending the investigation, adding that the safety of its customers is “their highest priority.”
Police were called to the Glasgow Airport after staff members raised concerns as the pilots checked in before the 9 a.m. flight, the Daily Record reported.
The arrests come just six weeks after two Canadian pilots for Air Transat were arrested, suspected of being over the legal alcohol limit before taking off from Glasgow. They, also, were scheduled to pilot a long-haul flight.
The airline industry has been hit with several pilot scandals involving alcohol recently. Among them was an incident last year in which a man was arrested and jailed after flying an executive jet from Spain to Norwich, England. Ian Jennings, 48, of Gosport, Hampshire, was detained after landing at Norwich carrying millionaire Andre Serruys along with a woman and three teenage girls.
He was jailed for nine months after he was found to have three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system for piloting a plane.
Last April, a JetBlue pilot was charged with flying while drunk with 151 passengers on board.