An airline pilot was arrested minutes before take-off on suspicion of being DRUNK in his jet, police said yesterday.
Officers swooped on the 48-year-old flier as he entered the cockpit after they were tipped off by a worried crew member.
Officers led the pilot off the plane for a breath-test and nicked him for allegedly being unfit to fly.
Police say he was above the ”drink drive” limit – 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.
That would make him more than FOUR TIMES the stricter flying limit of 20 milligrammes of alcohol.
The Wednesday morning Flybe flight from Newquay Airport in Cornwall to London Gatwick was cancelled just minutes before scheduled departure.
Shocked passengers were told the captain was “unwell” before being ordered off the Embraer E-195 aircraft.
The shock swoop threw their travel plans into chaos as they waited five hours for an alternative service, with one man understood to have missed a connecting flight to Mexico.
One shocked passenger said: “We all got on the plane and then there was an announcement. We were told the pilot was unwell.”
Police confirmed the pilot from Copplestone, Devon, was arrested on suspicion of being over the drink drive limit and taken to nearby Newquay police station.
A spokesman said: “A 48-year-old man was arrested at Newquay Airport shortly before 9am on Wednesday 29th October on suspicion of being over the drink drive limit.
“The man has bailed until the 8th December when he will be asked to reappear at Newquay police station.”
In a statement Flybe said: “Flybe can confirm that one of its pilots volunteered to help the police with their inquiries at Newquay Airport.
“Flybe is not able to comment further while the police investigation is taking place.”
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman added: “For pilots the blood-alcohol limit is 20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
“For context, the UK drink drive limit is 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres.”