The Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) pilot arrested in England for trying to board a flight under the influence of alcohol pleaded guilty on Friday before a Leeds magistrate, officials said.
Co-pilot Irfan Faiz Chishti has been sent on remand till October 14 and awaits trial, which could land him in jail for up to two years.
According to reports, the alcohol content in the pilot’s blood sample was found to be four times over the legal limit. In England, the legal alcohol limit is 20 milligrams in 100ml of blood – a quarter of that for car drivers.
A PIA spokesman said that the family of the pilot hasn’t approached the airline for help.
“In any case, we have made it clear that we won’t provide any legal assistance to employees involved in such misconduct,” the spokesman said.
Pakistan Airlines Pilots’ Association (PALPA) has also distanced itself from the issue, insisting that disciplinary action must be taken against such employees.
Irfan Chishti was one of the two pilots to fly flight PK-776 with 180 passengers on board from Leeds-Bradford International Airport to Islamabad.
As the pilot checked in with small luggage, an airport official at the airport caught a whiff of alcohol. He alerted security officials who “literally sniffed him from up close for verification,” said one his associates. “Then upon further examination it became obvious,” the associate added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2013.
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