AirBaltic Boeing 737 Pilots Arrested for ‘Alcohol Abuse’ Before Takeoff From Oslo To Chania

Two pilots of a Boeing 737 passenger jet were arrested for suspected “alcohol abuse” before they were due to take off in Norway, their airline said.

They were scheduled to fly 109 passengers on a four-hour journey from Oslo to the Greek island of Crete on Saturday when they were taken off the flight and into custody.

Two of the three cabin crew aboard the airBaltic jet were also arrested on suspicion their blood-alcohol was over the legal limit, the airline said in a statement. The third crew member has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“Four out of five crew are under initial suspicion for alcohol abuse,” the statement said. “They are now undergoing a careful medical examination to determine the actual blood alcohol levels.”

Janis Vanags, a spokesman for the Latvian airline, told NBC News that the carrier immediately sent a replacement crew and the flight took off at 10:41 a.m. local time (4:41 a.m. ET) after a delay of four hours and 45 minutes.

Vanags said the airline had a “zero tolerance policy” and that the crew had been suspended pending the criminal investigation. “Safety is our number-one priority,” he added.

airBaltic Introduces Additional Safety Measures

The Latvian airline airBaltic has introduced additional safety measures following the incident when its crew was removed before operating the flight BT7843 from Oslo, Norway, to Chania on the Greek Island of Crete on August 8 due to alcohol abuse.

Safety is the top priority for airBaltic. Up to Saturday, 8 August 2015, airBaltic performed random breathalyser tests for its crew every single day, 365 days a year. airBaltic has increased the amount of the daily tests with immediate effect. Furthermore, airBaltic has decided to introduce pre-duty breathalyser tests for 100% of the safety-critical personnel.

airBaltic has suspended the four individuals involved in the Oslo-Chania flight and is preparing for their dismissal due to the damage caused. airBaltic apologizes for the inconvenience to our customers. airBaltic thanks the Norwegian airport and police authorities for their contribution towards enforcing airBaltic safety principles.

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 reiterates that it has zero tolerance for diverting from the safety principles.

airBaltic serves over 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia. From every one of these locations, airBaltic offers convenient connections via Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East. In addition, airBaltic also offers new direct flights from Tallinn and Vilnius.

airBaltic (AIR BALTIC CORPORATION) is the world’s most punctual airline connecting Riga, Latvia, with 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. airBaltic is a joint stock company that was established in 1995. Its primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds 99.8% of the stock. The airBaltic fleet consists of 25 aircraft – 13 Boeing 737 and 12 Bombardier Q400Next Gen. airBaltic has received numerous international awards for excellence, innovative services, and achievements in reshaping its business. In 2012, airBaltic was ranked by Airlinetrends among the Top 10 airlines globally for innovations. airBaltic achieved the best on-time performance globally in 2014.

NBC / Air Baltic

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