On Wednesday morning, a JetBlue pilot was allegedly discovered to be over four times the legal alcohol limit as he prepared to fly an Airbus A320 plane full of people from Buffalo Niagara airport to Fort Lauderdale on a planned flight.
Shortly before takeoff, the pilot, a 52-year-old JetBlue crewmember, was removed from the cockpit and forced to take a blood-alcohol test. His blood-alcohol level was 0.17, according to officials. The legal limit is only 0.04 percent.
JetBlue acknowledged the event, saying the pilot had been suspended and that an internal inquiry had been launched in addition to any criminal charges that may have been filed.
“The safety of JetBlue’s customers and crewmembers is our first priority. We adhere to all DOT rules and requirements concerning alcohol at all times and have a very strict zero-tolerance internal alcohol policy,” the airline told WIVB4.
“We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and is cooperating fully with law enforcement. We are also conducting our own internal investigation. The crewmember involved has been removed from his duties.
JetBlue flight 2465 was supposed to leave Buffalo at 6:15 a.m., but it was delayed for more than four hours while the company tried to find a substitute pilot. The flight arrived in Fort Lauderdale shortly after 1 p.m.
Pilots must not consume alcohol within 8 hours of a flight, and even then, they must guarantee that they haven’t consumed so much alcohol from ‘bottle to throttle’ that their blood alcohol concentration does not exceed 0.4 percent.
When investigating a suspected rule infringement, law enforcement personnel are only allowed to demand a blood alcohol test from crew members.