A British Airways pilot who turned up for work to fly 300 passengers after drinking three double vodkas has been jailed.
A British Airways pilot who drank three double vodkas on an empty stomach a few hours before he turned up for work has been jailed for eight months.
Julian Monaghan, 49, boarded a plane on 18 January at Gatwick Airport destined to Mauritius to fly 300 passengers.
As the Boeing 777 was going through its last checks before take off, a plane technician smelt alcohol on Monaghan’s breath.
The pilot insisted he had stuck to the airline’s eight hour “bottle to throttle rule” and “felt fine”.
However, when police arrested Mr Monaghan, tests revealed he had 86mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system – the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg.
The court heard how Monaghan remembered drinking three miniature bottles of vodka. Each is equivalent to a double bar serving.
Amy Packham, prosecuting, said the reading taken at 10.30pm remained so high, that there “must have been a significant amount consumed” just before the eight-hour limit.
During sentencing Judge Janet Waddicor told Monaghan: “You took a risk and it didn’t pay off because you were caught.
“You are in charge of a huge aircraft. 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.”
A British Airways spokeswoman said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and not what we expect from our highly professional fleet of pilots.
“The safety and security of our customers and colleagues is always our top priority.”