- A JetBlue Airways pilot was removed from a flight after a breathalyzer confirmed he was under the influence of alcohol.
- The pilot had a blood alcohol level of 0.17%, which is more than four times greater than the federal legal limit.
- “We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are cooperating fully with law enforcement,” a JetBlue spokesperson told Insider.
A JetBlue pilot was removed from duty after an incident in Buffalo where he was accused of attempting to fly while intoxicated, the airline confirmed to Insider.
“The safety of JetBlue’s customers and crewmembers is our first priority,” an airline spokesperson told Insider. “We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are cooperating fully with law enforcement. We are also conducting our own internal investigation. The crewmember involved has been removed from his duties.”
The pilot was given a breathalyzer after a TSA agent believed he may be impaired during the pilot’s security check and notified police, a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority spokesperson told local media station WGRZ.
The pilot had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.17% — four times greater than the legal limit for pilots — according to the agency, which said he may face federal charges.
The Wednesday morning flight was scheduled to depart New York at 6:15 a.m. but incurred a four-hour and 10-minute delay over the incident, according to FlightAware data.
JetBlue emphasized in its statement that it “adheres to all DOT rules and requirements concerning alcohol at all times” and that it follows a “very strict zero-tolerance internal alcohol policy.”
The FAA states that pilots may not consume alcohol within eight hours of a flight, coining the slogan “eight hours from bottle to throttle” on a brochure outlining pilot safety in relation to alcohol. While the agency’s policy is eight hours, some companies impose longer limits. United Airlines, for example, changed its requirement in 2019 to 12 hours prior to duty after two pilots were caught intoxicated before a flight from Scotland to New Jersey, USA Today reported.