Leeds Bradford Airport pilot faces charge of being impaired by drink (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Pilot to appear in court after being arrested on runway at Leeds Bradford Airport over drink
A pilot was due to appear in court today, charged with trying to fly an airliner from Leeds Bradford Airport while being impaired through drink.
Irfan Faiz, 54, was taken off the Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad and arrested by West Yorkshire Police minutes before it was due to take off with 180 passengers on board.
The Pakistani national, who was the captain of the Airbus 310, was charged last night with carrying out an activity ancillary to an aviation function while impaired by drink.
He was due to appear before Leeds magistrates today. The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
It is believed final checks before take-off were being carried out when a member of airport staff reported concerns about the pilot to police, which led to his arrest.
A relative of a Bradford family, who were on board, last night told the Telegraph & Argus how the pilot was marched from a plane by officers.
The woman said her aunt, alongside seven relatives, were travelling to Pakistan to attend her father’s funeral.
She said: “The plane had started up and was ready to leave. Announcements for the plane leaving had been made and the safety checks had been done – then police stormed on to it.”
The plane, which had been due to leave at 10pm on Wednesday, was unable to take-off after PIA could not find a replacement pilot.
All the passengers had to disembark and were put up overnight in a hotel before the flight was able to continue yesterday after being delayed by 15 hours.
The woman said the incident had left her aunt “hysterical” as they had paid £900 each for tickets and the delay meant they missed the funeral.
PIA, which has a policy of not serving alcohol to passengers on its planes, has apologised.
In a statement released last night, the airline said: “The said pilot was the Captain of PK776 from Leeds-Bradford to Islamabad on Wednesday.
“Due to unavailability of any alternate captain, the flight had to make a night stop at Leeds. Later, the flight departed with a delay of 15 hours.
“PIA regrets the inconvenience caused to its valued passengers.”