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Sacked Finnair pilot charged with being drunk on the job

A flight captain fired by flag carrier Finnair will face trial in Vantaa for suspected drunkenness last summer when the pilot was about to fly a jet to Rome.

Finnairin Airbus-kone Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla.
A Finnair plane awaiting take-off at Helsinki Airport (file photo). Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

A former pilot for national carrier Finnair has been charged with intoxication on the job.

The flight captain was preparing for a Finnair flight that was due to take off from Helsinki Airport to Rome, Italy on the afternoon of 15 August. The passengers were already seated on the plane when they were ordered back into the terminal. A fellow Finnair worker notified authorities of the pilot’s suspected drunkenness.

The flight's departure was delayed by about an hour and a half. The pilot lost his job at the airline as a result of the incident.

Ex-pilot could face 2 years in prison

Police arrived and subjected the pilot to a breathalyser test, which confirmed the suspicion. According to Finnish commercial broadcaster MTV, it revealed that he had a blood alcohol content of 1.5 per mille (parts per thousand). Finnair says the pilot has since been fired.

The case will be considered at Vantaa District Court. The man could face up to two years in prison.

According to Finland’s Aviation Act, ”no person shall perform duties on board an aircraft...or perform flight safety-related duties in a ground organisation while his/her blood alcohol level is raised due to the consumption of alcohol, or when he/she has used some intoxicating substance other than alcohol so that detectable amounts remain within his/her system”.

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