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Pilots bailed after being charged with being under influence of alcohol

Published 29/08/2016

A United Airlines plane, as two pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol
A United Airlines plane, as two pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol

Two American airline pilots have been released on bail and charged with being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly a passenger jet from Scotland to the US.

Paul Brady Grebenc, 35, and Carlos Roberto Licona, 45, were held by police following the alleged incident at Glasgow Airport on Saturday.

The United Airlines flight to Newark, New Jersey, took off later that day with a new crew and 141 passengers on board.

On Monday, both men appeared in private at Paisley Sheriff Court, where they were charged under section 93 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, which covers alcohol limits in aviation.

That section of the Act states: ''A person commits an offence if he performs an aviation function at a time when the proportion of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit, or he carries out an activity which is ancillary to an aviation function at a time when the proportion of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit.''

Grebenc, from Columbus, Mississippi, and Licona, from Humble, Texas, made no plea or declaration and were released on bail ahead of a further court date to be set.

United Airlines said the pilots have been removed from service and their flying duties pending an investigation.

A spokesman said the safety of its customers and crew is its "highest priority".

For pilots, the alcohol breath limit is nine microgrammes in 100 millilitres, and 20 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, according to the legislation.

The short, private hearing followed the appearance in court last month of two Canadian pilots on the same charge as they prepared to fly a passenger jet from Scotland to Toronto.

Jean-Francois Perreault, 39, and Imran Zafar Syed, 37, were arrested on Monday July 18 before they were due to take off on the Air Transat flight from Glasgow Airport.

The men were remanded in custody when they first appeared at Paisley Sheriff Court, also charged under section 93 of the same Act.

At a second hearing at the same court, they were granted bail on condition they surrender their passports.

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From Belfast Telegraph