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-   -   BA crew test positive for alcohol (Sentences) (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/108603-ba-crew-test-positive-alcohol-sentences.html)

bizflyer 12th Nov 2003 01:43

Drink Driving?
Reported BBC Online today 11th of November

BA staff 'breached alcohol rules'

Three British Airways crew are being investigated for allegedly being under the influence of alcohol while on duty.
The two flight crew and one cabin crew member were prevented from flying from Oslo to Heathrow on Tuesday morning after being reported by colleagues.

The 55 passengers had not yet boarded the 0745 flight, and were transferred to alternative flights to London.

The three crew are still being questioned in Oslo after being removed from the plane.

My Questions

If this is true (that's IF), can anyone tell me why these guys don't just call in sick? they must know if they are over limit, although I know it's rare, why does this still happen, why risk your job, career, everything? I just don't get it.

viking737 12th Nov 2003 02:05


In the Norwegian paper it says that it was an anonymous phone call.........

M609 12th Nov 2003 02:12

All over the news over here. One TV station allso ran the BA drunk flying scandal from a couple of years back. (From the undercover documentary pice) Kinda "here we go again" :uhoh:

Sonic Cruiser 12th Nov 2003 02:32

BA Crews under the influence

troubleatthemill 12th Nov 2003 02:45

Norwegian media report: BA crew test positive for alcohol
According to VG Nett a BA captain, first officer and purser failed an alcohol test this morning after an anonymous tip saw them pulled off the BA 0761 scheduled departure 07:45 from Gardermoen to LHR. According to VG Nett they were subsequently interviewed at a police station. The ba.com arrivals/departure service shows that BA 0761 arrived at LHR 18:07 today.

BRL 12th Nov 2003 02:51

If this is true (that's IF), can anyone tell me why these guys don't just call in sick? they must know if they are over limit, although I know it's rare, why does this still happen, why risk your job, career, everything? I just don't get it.
It could be that they had a few drinks and thought nothing of it. It doesn't take much to go over the limit, especially the morning after so you could think I will only have 3 pints then that is it and wake up the following morning over the limit.
Our limit here is 30mls and I think the limit for drivng a car is 80? I could be ok to drive a car but not for work and that may have happened in this instance. They may not have realised exactly how much they were over that morning.
At the moment though, they are just being questioned so they may not have been over the limit in the first place.

Jerricho 12th Nov 2003 03:18

The whole point is they are being questioned, but one has to ask the merrits of having a drink or 3 on a school night!?

A4 12th Nov 2003 03:34

Drinking before an 0545Z report......... 12 hours B to T........ ?

If (NOTE IF) it's true I do not have one iota of sympathy for them. There's a time an place for "socialising". Before an early report isn't it. The fact that the limit is much more stringent in Scandiland also makes their alleged actions non sensical.

No doubt the truth will out.

A4 :rolleyes:

40KTSOFFOG 12th Nov 2003 03:55

I understand that there is a ZERO TOLERANCE level in Norway. Don't even think about it, especially around "Summerfest". Many people don't understand that certain states have different limitations to either Company limits or originating states. In this case "Zero". Careful what you gargle with.

Be warned!

purpleone 12th Nov 2003 04:05

So does anybody know who the three culprits are?? I'm curious.

M609 12th Nov 2003 04:19

Norwegian TV2 reports:

Captain 59 years
FO 26 years
Female purser 48 years

They are faceing fines and confinement if convicted.

purpleone 12th Nov 2003 04:31

Did they release any names yet?? I expect it will be in tomorrow's papers here. Is it possible for the FO to only be 26?

middlepath 12th Nov 2003 04:31

is this happening only to uk pilots or other nationalities as well ?

Hårek den Hardbalne 12th Nov 2003 05:09

This is the intro to a news flash in the Norwegian Aftenposten, English edition:

British Airways crew held at Oslo airport
The captain, the first officer and the purser of a British Airways flight ready to take off for London Tuesday morning were stopped by airport police. All three failed to pass an alcohol breathalyzer test.
Failing a breathalyzer test would be followed up by a free ride to the nearest hospital for a blood test (?)

WeLieInTheShadows 12th Nov 2003 05:12


Purpleone - lookin at your profile methinks you is a hack looking for the gen on the story before anyone else.

Nice try though - but believe me with a 2 post history (only on this topic) not very original.

Calle Belle 12th Nov 2003 06:21

The captain cannot be 59, as all BA pilots have to retire at 55, as far as I am aware.:rolleyes:

Basic T 12th Nov 2003 06:28

Captain was reported to be 50 in the articles I have read.


It is possible for an FO to be 26, in my company we have many that are just 22. Good on them!
I am afraid that that sort of question does indicate that you are not familiar in aviation and I hope you are the first reporter tomorrow to make the headlines! ;)

Middlepath: Why would the rule be any different to other Nationalities?

overstress 12th Nov 2003 07:56


BA hasn't done anything. 3 crew are ALLEGED to have done something.

Perhaps you would like someone to make an anonymous (perhaps false) call to an airport just before your next early report?

Jack The Lad 12th Nov 2003 08:08

According to my information, crew involved have failed to meet the 'zero tolerance level' imposed by the Scandanavians.

Sympathies to all concerned, but rules is rules, like it or not

Anyone that has been in aviation long enough will sympathise, the rules are changing, but we have all broken these in the past. It did not mean that any passenger was ever subjected to any safety risk, but there you go.

Another reason why flying isn't the necessarily the best job in the world any more!

Sad, but true.

ratarsedagain 12th Nov 2003 08:37


Since when was acting Judge, Jury and Executioner your prerogative.

The facts will out eventually, and IF they are guilty, then they will have made there biggest and last mistake, but don't ever pre judge the rest of the professional Flight and Cabin Crew community.

p.s. what is a "Thisty crew"?????

Check your own shortcomings before you start judging others.

Freeway 12th Nov 2003 09:29

Here we go again!!

DJ Mixmaster 12th Nov 2003 09:46

Could a norwegian please explain about the zero-tolerance?
This is new to me, and I am a norwegian. I don't know about these 30/80 mls regulations, we call it promille and I thought you could have 0.5 of those. (equals 0.05 percent alcohol in your blood)

mr Q 12th Nov 2003 12:26

BA 761 Captain, First Officer suspected of drinking.
BA crew barred over drinking claims

Andrew Clark, transport correspondent
Wednesday November 12, 2003
The Guardian

When the 55 passengers on board British Airways flight BA761 from Oslo to Heathrow yesterday were told their journey had been cancelled, the reason given was "staff shortages".
That much was true. But an important detail was omitted: the captain, first officer and purser of the flight had been arrested for apparently being drunk shortly before take-off.

BA ground staff in Norway called police when the trio reported for duty for the 6.45am flight.

The incident is a severe embarrassment to the national flag-carrier, which bans crew from drinking for eight hours before flights and insists staff should only consume alcohol "in moderation" for the preceeding 16 hours.

It comes three years after a crackdown at the airline, prompted by a television documentary which showed crew binge drinking before flights.

An insider at the airline said it was obvious to onlookers at Oslo airport that some of the crew were the worse for wear: "This was more than just having a few glasses of wine and going to bed early."

It is understood that the trio were arrested before passengers boarded. Police initially breathalysed them, then took them to a police station for blood tests. Two of the three passed the blood test.

Disgruntled passengers were finally taken home on a BA flight which left Oslo 10 hours later.

A BA spokeswoman said: "We have launched a full investigation. Norwegian police were alerted to the alleged breach by BA staff."

She said drinking before a flight was deemed "gross misconduct" and could result in dismissal.

Pilots are rarely caught in breach of drinking regulations: out of 10,000 commercial pilots in the UK, only 10 or 12 a year lose their licences for drinking.

Earlier this year, BA sacked a pilot who reported for work under the influence of drink at Stockholm's Arlanda airport.

The airline also dismissed two crew in 2000 following a Channel 4 programme in which a former stewardess covertly filmed crew drinking up to eight pints of beer on brief continental stopovers.

The British Airline Pilots' Association declined to comment yesterday.

Load Toad 12th Nov 2003 13:17

Why the interest in 'the names' purpleone?

This is being 'investigated'. They are not yet 'guilty'. The plane, the passengers were not at risk because the crew who 'might' be over the alcohol limit were stopped from flying.

How would the names benifit anybody at this time unless you were a sad hack looking for sensationalist drivel.

middlepath 12th Nov 2003 14:03

Basic T- ofcourse rules applies to all.
I was trying to figure out why Ba crew(uk pilots in general) seems to get involved often in this sort of incidents in foreign countries. Is this due to our pub culture or is it the foreigners drinking less, besides who wants overpriced drinks in scandiclands anyway.

flapsforty 12th Nov 2003 16:19

The Norwegian rule is 0,2 promille max. Which means 0,2 gr alcohol per liter blood. This is in practice a zero tolerance, and the only reason it doesn't say 0 in the law is to avoid disagreements and legal wrangling about things like mouthwash and chocolates with alcohol in them.
In practice you can not drink (fly) and drive in Norway. Very common are also alcohol tests by police on saturday and sunday morning, to make sure that people do not drive with residual promillage in their bloodstream.
There is in this country a culture of little regular drinking, heavy drinking on occasion and a generally endorsed zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Punishment is draconian, and peer pressure to not get behind the wheel when having consumed alcohol is massive.
The Norwegian fondness for booze is countered by their loathing of drink & drive. People will always take a cab when going home from the pub or a party and take this responsibility very seriously. As such, it is not surprising to me that the BA crew members were apparently reported to the police by local ground staff.

The Norwegian public gets the following type of information from the state about alcohol :

A grown man who weighs about 70 kg will have a promille of 0,3 after 1 bottle of beer, 1 glass wine or 1 strong drink of the normal 4 cl size.
But his happens only if you drink the drink in one go and get bloodtested straight away, acc to Jørg Mørland of the State Toxicological Institute.

Alcohol metabolizes quickly however. Most people will burn about 0,15 promille per hour, depending on their weight.

If you go to bed with a promille of 1,2 it will take at least 8 hours before you are promille-free.

According to the Norwegian media, all 3 crew members "blew red" when tested on board the AC. They were taken to Gardermoen police station, where they were asked to take a so called entoxilizer-test. (this is the test often used in drink-drive court cases in Norway).
1 crewmember took the test and was tested as having a promille of 0,95. The police was unable to test the other 2 crewmembers in the same way.
this is possibly the test wrongly referred to in the Guardian article above..................
After that, regular blood tests were taken of all 3 crew members.
Reliable test results will be available in about 2 weeks.

Hope this clears up a few questions and misconceptions.

LIN 12th Nov 2003 16:47

Until some years back, the alcohol limits in Denmark were 0.8 0/00 for driving and 0.4 0/00 for safety critical jobs in aviation (pilots, ATCO etc).

If my memory serves me right, these limits were changed as a consequence of EU directives to the present 0.5 for driving and 0.2 for aviation. The limit for aviation is published in the AIP

If - as I remember it - the limits are based on EU directives, then surely they must be the same in the UK?

maxy101 12th Nov 2003 17:14

Judging by the comments on this thread, is it any wonder pilots still have problems knowing EXACTLY what the limits are in different countries? The only guidance we are given in Big Airways is Flying Crew Orders (JAROPS 1), which was only changed a couple of years ago . It now states "there should be NO residual alcohol in the bloodstream when reporting for duty. Nothing about 0.2 or 0.002 or even 0.00000000000002. It says NO. This is something some of us have been unhappy about for a while now. Why not give more guidance? Why not a list of state requirements for each destination we fly to ?
What I suspect is that if breath tests were taken of every person in a safety critical job tomorrow, that a sizeable percentage would fail the ZERO alcohol level in the bloodtream test, whether through mouthwashes, diet ,naturally occuring ketones/alcohol levels or a glass of wine drunk more than 8 hours before work. I also suspect that if all of these people were checked regularly, there would rapidly be a shortage of people wanting to do these jobs. After all, we go to work to earn money to live? Not the other way around....

whizzjet 12th Nov 2003 17:55

As someone else said here we go again!

Unfortunately the scandanavians for all their tolerance in other areas have a very anally retentive attitude to alcohol (probably due to their high suicide rate).

All the information given to crews does give the state limits in promile per something or other, but no real information, (eg this can be achieved by sniffing a bar maids apron) and I have asked for clarification before someone jumps down my throat.

If you are doing european short haul then you are going to have a drink in the evening, we are socially programed for this and it does help you relax and unwind from the stress of the day. Its about time that the various authorities woke up to this, and supplied some real guidance or applied the same rules to all judges etc. ( that would get it changed pretty quick!!)

How about access to proper breath testing equipment calibrated to a common scale so that we can work out a sensible personal limit for the different countries. Not to difficult if they are really interested in safety.

However, there is the rub, this is nothing to do with safety. In 80 years of air crash investigation in the RAF only one accident could be attributed to alcohol, and given the amount consumed that is a real suprise.

A proper mature look at this involving representative bodies from all concerned is long overdue, rather than the knee jerk overeaction that the press drives which is of course what will happen.

PS having heard the rumors of what some of our younger pilots/cabin crew take to relax I would much rather fly with someone who`s up to the limit on alcohol!!

Jetlegs 12th Nov 2003 18:49

You can try to obfuscate the argument by waffling on about maid's aprons and moaning about pilots not knowing the limits in the different counties, but how complicated is NO residual alcohol in the bloodstream when reporting for duty really?? :rolleyes:
  • You are afraid of being framed by the media? Don't drink in public.
  • You want to make sure you will never ever have a problem? Don't drink in the 24 hours before going to work
  • You know you can't stop drinking once you start? Don't start drinking when you're nightstoppping.
  • Can't function without that 'unwind' drink? Get help.
  • You want to to drink socially with fellow crew because it is enjoyable? Do the simple maths involved, build in a safety margin, and you'll be fine. From the above example, 70kgs is 154 pound. Women beware, you metabolise at a slower pace.

All of the above is pretty straightforward and in one form or another practiced daily and without problem by the vast majority of both cockpit and cabin crews all over the world.

moggie 12th Nov 2003 18:57

posted by flapsforty

A grown man who weighs about 70 kg
where do you find these anorexics, then?

Flip Flop Flyer 12th Nov 2003 19:58

It would seem that the Scandinavians are just following EU Doctrine, i.e. 0.05 for driving and 0.02 for safety critical jobs. Mind you, those are the maximum allowable levels, any state is well within it's rights to have more strict levels. However, Norway is not an EU member, but is by and large following the same procedures. And anyone who has ever been to Norway or Sweden will tell you they are extremely strict and enforce the law to the letter. If you get caught driving in SE with even 0.02% the your drivers license is history for a minimum of 3 months + a fine and if you're drunk enough, you'll end up in jail. That is the law of the land, and if you have a problem with then you're better off staying away.

And now for something that'll really get me in deep problems with some crew members of UK origin. Every airline staff member in the world who's ever had the pleasure of spending a night in the same hotel as a UK crew, especially BA, will tell you that they love their landing beers. In fact, they love landing beer and socialsing with their fellow crewmembers so much that they're regularly the last ones to leave the bar. Early morning reporting or not, they stay up very late. Not all of them of course, but the last crews to leave any hotel bar will enevitably be UK, and usually BA. I don't know what kind of culture promotes kicking it back all night, but it is there. Some will deny this to all and sundry, and they will also be the one's cooking up excuses for crews caught on camera with pathetic thesis like "it could've been light beer" and "the presenter said they had 10 beers, but I only counted 8" and so on and so forth. Denial is ripe with BA, sadly even amongst peers on a public forum like this. Before BA seriously addresses these issues, even to the extent of issuing a decrete stating that a landing beer or a glass of wine for dinner is acceptable, and nothing more, and introduce measures to enforce such rules, the problem will not go away. Maybe it's got to do with the British mentality, maybe it's a heritage thing. But flying and alcohol does not go together, pure and simple. You are trusted with people's life and millions worth of hardware, have to memorize very technical and complex systems and procedures, have to read through and understand technical documents, yet some claim that simple rules like staying off the bottle the night before a flight are too difficult to work with. Frankly, how you expect anyone to fall for that is beyond me.

I'm all for having a landing beer, or even two. It's all about professionalism and a respect for the jobs we hold, and knowing when to call it a day. The initial test of the FO from this latest incident, revealed an estimated alcohol content of 0.09%. That means he would have been more than just a little dizzy on the night, and should have known damn well he wouldn't be fit for duty the next day. Someone here stated that it could have been solved by the BA rep. quitely suggesting them to call in sick. No, no and yet again no. If the crew themselves are too stupid to call in sick, then they display an extremely poor sense of judgement. The aviation industry is better off without such individuals.

All over this industry you'll find people telling you to consider carefully before booking an early morning departure with BA from an out-station. You think there could be a reason for that?

NotAgain 12th Nov 2003 20:00

BA Drinking Culture
Once again BA pilots are pilloried in the press.

Perhaps BA needs to sit down and think what it takes to be a good pilot. Perhaps my fellow BA pilots need to consider how they behave downroute, and what should be considered acceptable behaviour. Would they carry on the same way at home for instance?

Perhaps BA also need to return to concentrating on piloting skills, away from the track they are taking with CRM. Why is SS introducing a new Line Check form with virtually only one box for piloting stuff, but loads on "how you mix" etc?

A sad day for all concerned, and a wake up call for us all, yet again.

Edited.... you have quoted well out of context material from a private website which you have no right so to do.

Chalky 12th Nov 2003 20:07

Some of you seem to have a very short memory, or a short history in commercial aviation.

There was a similar furore about three years ago when the Dutch announced that they would be breath-testing pilots, and their limit is exactly the same as the "zero-tolerant" Scandinavians - 0.2 promille.


Scottie 12th Nov 2003 20:18

Whizzjet, if you need alcohol to unwind from the stresses of the day, seek help quick :oh:

Flip flop flyer and Jetlegs spot on :ok:

acmi48 12th Nov 2003 20:43

old hat again but do the french still give the crew a bottle of wine with the catering,the americans get a lot of this unwanted publicity aswell on this substance abuse

meanwhile the anon phone caller- is he/she right or wrong and how did he/she know that they were crew

hope it all dies down,the sun is having a field day

A Very Civil Pilot 12th Nov 2003 21:03

Doesn't the proposed EU flight time limitations allow flying at a fatigue level that equates to having an alcohol level of 0.4 mg/100 ml of blood?

M609 12th Nov 2003 21:08

meanwhile the anon phone caller- is he/she right or wrong and how did he/she know that they were crew
According to a norwegian paper, the caller was a BA groundcrew that was alerted by passengers.

I love the UK tabloids, the really are entertaining! :E

lord melchett 12th Nov 2003 21:14

As far as the UK is concerned, the new Transport and Railway Safety Act 2003 (or summat like that) spells it all out in law now with (very) stringent limits on alcohol in breath, blood, and piddle for aircrew (and others). I think this just legalises what was already a JAR rule anyway. Plod can take samples if there are grounds to suspect. More details can be found on the HMSO website.

Captain_Happy 12th Nov 2003 22:11

This winds me up...

As a BA pilot, I take my job and my image as a professional pilot extremely seriously. Why do some people on this thread (and in the media in general) seem so very determined to tar all BA crews as a generic clone-like breed of people??

We are all different, all know the rules and let us not forget (as many have already pointed out) that these guys are innocent until proven guilty ... Let's not be like the media and be quite so quick to judge, eh guys??

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