United suspends ‘drunk’ pilot

11th Nov 2009
United suspends ‘drunk’ pilot

United Airlines has suspended the pilot who was arrested by police at Heathrow on suspicion that he was about to fly with 124 passengers while drunk.

Erwin Washington, 51, of Lakewood, Colorado was charged with “being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the proscribed alcohol limit”, police said.

He was released on bail and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in Middlesex on November 20.

The incident occurred on Monday before the departure of Flight 949, a Boeing 767 bound for Chicago which would have carried passengers and 11 crew. Passengers were put on to other planes after the flight was cancelled on 9 November.

“Safety is our highest priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full investigation,” UAL spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.


“United’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry, and we have no tolerance for violation of this well-established policy,” she said.

United Airlines said it would conduct a full investigation.


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