Page last updated at 00:33 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heathrow pilot faces drink charge

Heathrow airport
The United Airlines plane was due to take off from Heathrow Airport

A United Airlines pilot who was arrested at Heathrow on suspicion of being drunk on Monday has been charged.

Erwin Washington was charged with "being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit", police said.

The 51-year-old from Lakewood, Colorado has been released on bail and is due to appear before Uxbridge magistrates in north-west London on 20 November.

A United Airlines spokesman said it would conduct a full investigation.

The flight the pilot was on to Chicago had been "imminent", with 124 passengers and 11 crew members on board, when the arrest took place, a Heathrow spokesman said.

Passengers were put on to other planes after the flight was cancelled on 9 November.

The airline's spokesman said: "Safety is our highest priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full investigation."



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