AN American Airlines pilot has been arrested at Manchester Airport on suspicion of being drunk just minutes before he was due to fly to the US.
Flight AA735 to Philadelphia was scheduled to take off at 11.05am yesterday but was cancelled following the arrest of the pilot, who has not been named.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it received a report shortly before 11am that an airline pilot "may have been under the influence of alcohol".
A 62-year-old man was quickly arrested at the airport on suspicion of performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol.
The pilot has been bailed and American Airlines have pledged to assist GMP in their investigation
In a statement, a spokesperson for the US carrier said: "Safety is our highest priority and we apologise to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans.
"We have re-booked affected passengers on alternative flights.
"We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them."
It is illegal for pilots in the UK to have more than 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in their system – considerably lower than the drink-drive limit of 80mg.
Last year, a Japanese pilot was jailed after being caught 10 times over the alcohol limit while preparing to operate a flight out of Heathrow Airport.
First officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was handed a 10-month prison sentence after security staff noticed he smelled strongly of alcohol, appeared intoxicated and had "glazed eyes".