Page last updated at 02:20 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 03:20 UK

Pilot arrested over alcohol fears

A pilot has been arrested on board a plane at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being drunk at work.

The 44-year-old, who works for the US carrier United Airlines, was arrested after giving a breath test to police at Terminal 1.

He was held on suspicion of "performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the alcohol limit", said police.

The man was "removed from duty", the airline said and bailed to return to Heathrow police station on 16 January.

Safety is our number one priority
United Airlines statement

A statement released by United Airlines said the company's alcohol policy was "among the strictest in the industry".

"We have no tolerance for abuse or violations of this well-established policy," it said.

"Safety is our number one priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with the authorities and conducting a full investigation."

A spokeswoman for the airline would give no details of the timing and flight involved in the incident which happened on Sunday but it is understood the flight was bound for San Francisco.

The legal limit for pilots is nine micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

This is more than three times stricter than the drink-drive limit, which is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

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