Suspected drunk pilot kept off Omaha flight


A suspected drunk pilot who failed a blood-alcohol test was kept off an Omaha, Nebraska flight on Thursday, CNN reported

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the male pilot, whose identity was not released. He was scheduled to fly Frontier Flight 1894 to Milwaukee at 6 a.m., according to the airline, but the flight was delayed until just before 8 a.m.

The aircraft, which carried 29 passengers and three crew members, landed in Milwaukee safely at 9:29 a.m., UPI reported

“Because this is a personnel issue, we can’t and won’t comment on specifics other than to say that because of concern for the condition of the crew member, the crew member was replaced,” Frontier and Chautauqua airlines spokesperson Lindsey Carpenter told reporters, according to CNN. “Frontier and Chautauqua have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol that has resulted in a 100 percent safety record for both carriers.”

Authorities said they were tipped off by a shuttle bus driver, who called airport police to report he suspected the flight's pilot was drunk, according to CNN. 

"Our police received information alleging that a Frontier crew member was impaired and, acting on that information, our police intercepted the employee before he boarded the flight," Chris Martin, director of operations for Omaha's Eppley Airfield, told ABC News. "They spoke with him, and asked him a few questions, and determined there was reasonable suspicion that he was impaired and turned it over to Frontier Airlines staff."

The pilot was not arrested, according to ABC News. 

Frontier and Chautauqua airlines both enforce policies that are even stricter than the FAA’s eight-hour "bottle-to-throttle" rule, which prohibits pilots from flying or performing any safety-sensitive operation within eight hours of consuming alcohol, or if they have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher.

Representatives of Frontier Airlines did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to ABC News. 

More from GlobalPost: Randy Babbitt, head of FAA, charged with drunk driving

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