Flight Canceled After 80% Of Crew Found Drunk

Every so often we hear of a drunk crew member being removed from a flight. Everyone makes dumb decisions, and that includes pilots & flight attendants. Though here’s a story which is on a slightly different level.

An airBaltic flight between Oslo and Chania was delayed by nearly five hours after four of the five crew members (including the captain, first officer, and two flight attendants) had to be removed over suspicion of alcohol abuse.

Via the airBaltic press release:

The Latvian airline airBaltic regrets to inform that its flight BT7843 from Oslo, Norway, to Chania on the Greek Island of Crete was delayed by 4:45 hours due to its crew removed from operating the flight. According to the currently available information, four out of five crew are under initial suspicion for alcohol abuse, and they are now undergoing a careful medical examination to determine the actual blood alcohol levels.

Safety is our top priority and airBaltic is in process of careful investigation of this situation. airBaltic has several layers of control mechanism to ensure the safety of all airBaltic-operated flights. Procedures are in place to ensure potential mistakes of human factor are addressed.   airBaltic has temporarily suspended the involved four crew until the investigation is completed.

airBaltic thanks the Norwegian airport and police authorities for their contribution towards enforcing airBaltic safety principles.

airBaltic apologizes for the inconvenience and delay caused to our customers. airBaltic reiterates that it has zero tolerance for diverting from the safety principles and, as soon as comprehensive investigation is completed, will evaluate additional safety measures in cooperation with aviation authorities.

I’m not sure what’s more shocking — that 80% of the crew was apparently drunk, or that airBaltic revealed these details in their own press release. You wouldn’t think they’d be so detailed in their own press release, since this is downright embarrassing. But I commend them for their transparency (I think?). Regardless, it’s absolutely terrible that the crew would be so irresponsible with 100+ peoples’ lives in their hands.

airBaltic

Yow, what a story!

Comments

  1. @The other Ben

    Think damage control after the Norwegian press got hold of it, the crew got caught in a breathalyser test after a hotel employe called the airport police to report that the crew had been drinking.

  2. Airport staff told passengers that the flight was delayed due sickness, found out when they read about it in the media.

    Sounds like Air Baltic PR is in full damage control mode.

  3. Let’s put it this way. This is a honest company that has measures in place and it’s not shy to tell people how things are. This makes me want to fly with AirBaltic. Let’s me honest….would you prefer to fly with s company that is able to overtly discuss and address its shortcomings like this or rather with one that loses whole flights and shrouds the whole thing under a foggy cover of mystery like Air Malaysia? I’d go for the first.

  4. @ Lucky – this would be a great time to hit up your industry sources to find out how often it happens in other airlines 😉

  5. It’s good that they were detailed otherwise people would say that they’re hiding info etc. this way it shows that they’re tackling the situation head on rather than trying to get out of it

  6. This has been in the media since 7 AM local time here in Norway. The “four out of five crewmembers”-thing was picked up by the press long before Air Baltic made the press release.

    Apparently the police in Oslo were made aware of the crews condition by a hotel employee where the crew stayed in Oslo. Considering that, I think it is safe to assume that they actually were way over the 0,2 limit.

  7. Actually, I’m appreciative of their honesty. I’m sure the crew is going to get raked over the coals for this one and a sternly worded memo will be going out to the other crews about such things.

    Drinking and carrying on has been a part of the industry since its inception. I’ve seen similar things in the medical field, but much less attention gets paid to it. For those keeping score at home, doctors (including the sober ones) kill far more people a year than airline crashes, so the risk here is minimal.

  8. According to the currently available information, four out of five crew are under initial suspicion for alcohol abuse, and they are now undergoing a careful medical examination to determine the actual blood alcohol levels. Safety is our top priority and airBaltic is in process of careful investigation of this situation.

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