James Clifton, a 52-year old Jet Blue pilot, was removed from cockpit of a flight after was found to have a blood alcohol level more than four times the Federal Aviation Administration's limit. The incident took place at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York on Wednesday.
According to the reports, FAA regulations prohibit pilots from flying or attempting to fly an aircraft if their alcohol concentration is 0.04% or greater, which is half the legal limit in the U.S. of 0.08%.
Jet Blue Flight Was Headed to Fort Lauderdale
The Buffalo News reported that Clifton was passing through airport security when a Transportation Security Administration officer noticed he was acting drunk. After the concerned officer informed the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police, a breathalyzer test was administered on the erring Jet Blue pilot. Later he was taken into custody and handed over to the Jet Blue authorities.
Clifton was scheduled to fly the JetBlue Flight 2465 supposed to depart Buffalo for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 6:15 a.m. However, following Clifton's removal it was delayed for more than four hours, as per NPR.
Speaking to the outlet, the FAA said that it "is investigating allegations that an airline pilot attempted to report for duty while under the influence of alcohol. The agency takes these matters seriously." According to the rules, the FAA prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol while on duty or within eight hours of performing flight duties.
Clifton Had Drinks the Night Before
CNN reported that the police report stated that Clifton admitted to having "5-6 [drinks] the night before at dinner. In a statement JetBlue said that they have a strict zero tolerance internal alcohol policy, that they are cooperating with authorities, and that they are conducting their own internal investigation into the matter.
"We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are cooperating fully with law enforcement. The crewmember involved has been removed from his duties," the statement reads.
The incident also sparked a lot of reactions on social media with many trolling the airlines. "Not shocked! One stayed at our resort in T. and Caicos that was so trashed and disruptive they almost called police. I'd say they need to screen pilots better. I would never fly Jet Blue," read a tweet.
"A jet blue pilot had a blood alcohol level 4 times the legal limit. Thank God they pulled him from the cockpit before takeoff," wrote a user.