A flight departing from Oslo, Norway was delayed almost 5 hours after nearly all crew members failed a breathalyzer test and were removed from the plane on Saturday.
109 passengers were aboard the airBaltic plane headed to Chania in Greece, reported AFP.
The 4-of-5 crew members who exited the Greece-bound plane were the captain, first officer, and two flight attendants.
They were directed to a police car, and another airBaltic crew was assigned to replace those who were believed to be intoxicated.
“Results of the breathalyzer tests confirmed that four of the five crew members … were above the legal alcohol limit of 0.2 promille,” Romerike police prosecutor Edith Ek Sorensen told AFP.
Passengers, however, were reportedly told that the pilot was “unwell,” said the Dagbladet report. According to the Public Broadcasting of Latvia outlet, LSM.tv, police arrived after receiving an anonymous tip from someone who implied the crew’s “raucous” behaviour was worth investigating.
An airBaltic spokesman, Janis Vanags, told LSM that the airline maintained a “zero tolerance” policy with regard to alcohol.
“Zero tolerance means no alcohol,” Vanags said, “It’s very straightforward — safety is our number one priority.”
If the crew members are found to be in violation, they could face sentences of up to two years in prison, said AFP.
Soon after the incident, airBaltic issued this statement:
Safety is our top priority and airBaltic is in process of careful investigation of this situation. airBaltic has several layers of control mechanism to ensure the safety of all airBaltic-operated flights. Procedures are in place to ensure potential mistakes of human factor are addressed. airBaltic has temporarily suspended the involved four crew until the investigation is completed.
airBaltic thanks the Norwegian airport and police authorities for their contribution towards enforcing airBaltic safety principles.
airBaltic apologizes for the inconvenience and delay caused to our customers. airBaltic reiterates that it has zero tolerance for diverting from the safety principles and, as soon as comprehensive investigation is completed, will evaluate additional safety measures in cooperation with aviation authorities.
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