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Finnair pilot fired for drunkenness gets 3-month suspended sentence

A Finnair pilot sacked for reporting to work under the influence has been slapped with a suspended jail term and has also lost his pilot's licence.

Finnairin koneita Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla.
File photo. Image: AOP

A former Finnair pilot who lost his job after reporting for work under the influence of alcohol last summer was handed a three-month suspended sentence in Eastern Uusimaa District Court on Friday.

The incident, which cost the former pilot his job and pilot's licence, was sparked after company staff notified authorities about his suspected substance abuse before a flight to Italy in mid-August.

Passengers had already started boarding the plane, the pilot discussed the flight with the navigating officer and had already carried out instrument checks.

Shortly before the flight was to begin its journey to Rome, a police patrol arrived to administer a breathalyser test on the man, which confirmed suspicions.

Three-month suspended sentence

The test showed that the 40-year-old's blood alcohol level was 2.0 promille (mg per ml of blood), according to court testimony.

The former pilot admitted to the court that he had been intoxicated, but requested leniency in sentencing in light of having lost his job and pilot's licence. He told the court that he is unable to work in the only industry for which he has training.

But the court said the pilot should have understood the consequences of the offence he committed. The court said in this case, an appropriate punishment for drunken aviation is a three-month suspended sentence.

The prosecutor in the case had demanded the defendant receive a suspended sentence of at least 80 days and an additional 50 day-fine.

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