A commercial airline pilot was arrested at Bristol airport minutes before takeoff this week.

Airport news for Bristol,Flights on 26/01/2012.

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The Aer Arann captain was due to fly dozens of passengers via Aer Lingus Regional flight ATR72 to Ireland but was given a breath test just before departure. Police took the man away after he was deemed to be “over the limit”.

Authorities had been notified by airport staff after the pilot was seen out of uniform going through the passenger security checkpoint rather that the checkpoint designated for airline crewmembers. Reports also said that one source claimed that the man had gone to a hotel with a member of the cabin crew during a six-hour stop in Bristol.

Passengers on the flight were forced to wait for hours after they were told there was an “operational” problem. Aer Arann said it had to quickly find another pilot to operate the flight.

Despite the arrest, an Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said that the pilot was taken to a police station and administered a second alcohol test and passed. He added that the man was released without further action and that no offenses were disclosed.

Aer Arann has said it is continuing to investigate the incident. Officials said they are taking the incident “very seriously” and that safety will always’ be the airline’s “utmost priority”.

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