BA Gatwick Airport pilot jailed for being over the alcohol limit

In the event of a fire you have approximately 90 seconds to exit the plane

In the event of a fire you have approximately 90 seconds to exit the plane

Julian Monaghan, who worked for British Airways, went to work with a blood alcohol level far above the legal limit and has now been jailed.

"The limits are pitched deliberately low because of the responsibility which attaches to the job. The safety, if not the lives, indeed, of passengers and crew members are in the hands of the pilot", she added.

During sentencing Judge Janet Waddicor said airline passengers are "entitled to feel that they are safe" on flights the BBC reports.

"You say you were staggered at the reading and when the police reading was confirmed you resigned".

After Monaghan admitted the charge, a British Airways spokeswoman said: "This behaviour is completely unacceptable and not what we expect from our highly professional fleet of pilots".

Mr Jones said Monaghan remembered drinking three miniature bottles of vodka.

The court had been told he had one glass of wine on an overnight flight to Gatwick from Cape Town, on which he travelled as a passenger.

He had nothing to eat but then drank three vodkas with Diet Pepsi by 11.15am.

He insisted he obeyed the airline's eight-hour "bottle to throttle rule", which forbids pilots from drinking for that amount of time before going on duty.

Some 300 people were on the 12-hour flight, which had been scheduled to leave at 20:20.

After he was arrested aboard the jet due to take off at 8.20pm police found a reading of 86mg of alcohol per 100mg of blood.

Lewes Crown Court in Sussex heard Monaghan's career had "gone up in smoke", he would never work as a commercial pilot again and his teenage son had not spoken to him since the incident.

Emlyn Jones, defending, said Monaghan - whose childhood dream was to be a pilot - had been "extremely stupid" and bitterly regretted his actions.

Monaghan was not required to fly until at least three-and-a-half hours into the flight but Mr Jones conceded he would have needed to take over earlier and at short notice had something unexpected happened to the senior pilot.

"The safety and security of our customers and colleagues is always our top priority".

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