An airline pilot is due to appear before Leeds magistrates today after being arrested on suspicion of being drunk while in charge of a plane at Leeds Bradford Airport.
Irfan Faiz, 54, had more than four times the legal alcohol limit in his system when he was arrested after getting on board the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft, Leeds magistrates heard on Friday.
Other staff had noticed he was “unsteady on his feet” and smelt of alcohol before the flight to Islamabad on Wednesday night.
He was eating chewing gum and mints to mask the smell as he boarded the plane, the court heard.
Faiz, from Pakistan, was carrying out pre-flight checks when police were called and arrested him. The 180 passengers who were on board had to disembark and were put up in a hotel overnight before flying out on a rescheduled flight on Thursday.
Faiz pleaded guilty to carrying out an activity ancillary to an aviation function while impaired by drink.
Chairman of the bench James McAuley told Faiz: “By your actions you breached the trust of the public who must be comfortable that when travelling they are safe to travel.
“The consequences could have been serious loss of life.”
Faiz, who could face a prison sentence, was remanded in custody to be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court at a later date.