Philly-bound flight grounded; pilot suspected of being drunk

Tim Jimenez
February 08, 2019 - 6:38 am
American Airlines

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A flight set to go from England to Philadelphia never left the ground Thursday morning because police say one of the pilots may have been drunk. 

American Airlines flight 735 was supposed to leave Manchester Airport at around 11 a.m. GMT, but around that same time, Greater Manchester Police say they were called to the airport. 

Police say one of the pilots of that flight was a 62-year-old who appeared to have had too much to drink. He was arrested and released on bail. 

"It's really a sad day for him, but a fortunate day that it was found before the flight left," said Philadelphia-based aviation attorney Arthur Wolk, who says such incidents stand out because they're very rare. 

"I don't think I've ever seen one, in 50 years of flying, who was intoxicated or who did not wait the required time between the bottle and the throttle, we call it," he said.

Wolk says that required time is eight hours, but most airlines enforce a 12-hour rule.

"If the pilot was in fact intoxicated, he could have his license suspended or revoked. He could lose his job with the airline and certainly there may be criminal implications as well."

Police didn't comment on any charges. All of the passengers were rebooked and got on different flights.