Flight 35 from Amsterdam to Newark was canceled by Delta Air Lines due to concern that a crew member was "unfit for duty." The Dutch National Police Corps has not identified the pilot but says he is a 52-year-old captain from Woodbury, N.J.
Authorities pulled the pilot off his plane after receiving an anonymous tip that he was drunk, said Jos Klaren, a spokesman for the police. A breath test showed the pilot's blood-alcohol level exceeded the legal limit, Klaren said.
Flight 35 was scrubbed, the pilot was suspended and passengers will be rebooked on an extra plane tomorrow, Anthony Black, a Delta spokesman, said today in an e-mail. Dutch police said a 52-year-old airline captain from New Jersey was arrested on an alcohol charge, without identifying his employer.
Black told ABC News that Delta has one of the strictest alcohol policies in the industry and they have no tolerance for violations.
Police say they arrested the man in the cockpit of his plane after an anonymous tip. An Associated Press report on NJ.com said that a breath test found he had a blood alcohol content of 0.023 percent — a hair above the legal limit in the Netherlands.
The pilot was fined about $900 and released, according to a statement from police. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration restrictions on alcohol include a ban on any drinking by a pilot within eight hours of a flight.
Flight 35 was due to depart Schiphol at 2 p.m. local time and arrive at Newark at 4:30 p.m., according to Delta's website. Delta declined to say how many people were on board or to identify the type of plane. The flight was supposed to use a Boeing Co. 767, according to industry website FlightStats.com.
Delta.com released the following statement: Flight No. 35, serving Newark via Amsterdam, was cancelled out of concern that a crew member appeared to be unfit for duty. Local Amsterdam authorities met with the crew member to begin their investigation and we are cooperating fully, while simultaneously launching our own internal investigation. The crew member has been suspended pending the outcome of these investigations. Our alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violations.
Businessweek.com reports that the arrest was at least the third involving a U.S. pilot and alcohol in 16 months. In November, a United Airlines pilot was charged with operating an aircraft under the influence after failing a breath test at London's Heathrow airport. An American Airlines pilot was arrested at Heathrow in May 2009 after he smelled of alcohol before a flight to Chicago.