Double vodkas BA pilot Julian Monaghan jailed for eight months

PAMonaghan is led to prison van in cuffs after hearing yesterday

PAMonaghan is led to prison van in cuffs after hearing yesterday

The 49-year-old pleaded guilty after tests revealed he had 86mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - more than four times the 20mg limit for a pilot.

"The limits are pitched deliberately low because of the responsibility which attaches to the job". The safety, if not the lives, indeed, of passengers and crew members are in the hands of the pilot.

"They are entitled to feel that they are safe".

"You say you were staggered at the reading and when the police reading was confirmed you resigned".

British Airways was warned seven years ago that Monaghan posed a safety risk after he was involved in a drunken argument in a bar.

Mr Jones said Monaghan remembered drinking three miniature bottles of vodka.

On arrest, Monaghan, from South Africa, told police he drank a glass of wine on his overnight flight as a passenger from Cape Town to Heathrow.

He had nothing to eat but then drank three vodkas with Diet Pepsi by 11.15am.

He insisted he had stuck to the airline's eight hour "bottle to throttle rule" and "felt fine".

GETTY British Airways said Monaghan's behaviour had been'completely unacceptable
GETTY British Airways said Monaghan's behaviour had been'completely unacceptable

Amy Packham, prosecuting, said the reading taken at 10.30pm remained so high that he must have drunk a "significant amount" just before the eight-hour limit.

Some 300 people were on the 12-hour flight, which had been scheduled to leave at 20:20.

But the Boeing 777 was left waiting at the gate while airline staff looked for a third pilot.

Some 300 people were on the 12-hour flight, which was scheduled to leave at 9.20pm but was delayed for almost two hours while a replacement pilot was found.

"Certainly he will never fly as a commercial pilot again", he added.

Mr Jones said four times over the limit "sounds terrible", but there was no evidence his conduct caused direct harm, adding: "He was not falling down drunk, making mistakes, being rude, picking fights".

The pilot was led from the aircraft in handcuffs just before it was due to take off.

A British Airways spokeswoman said: "This behaviour is completely unacceptable and not what we expect from our highly professional fleet of pilots". This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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