Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Mon August 10 2015

airBaltic Flight Delayed After Pilots, Crew Members Fail Alcohol Tests

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 10, 2015

airBaltic Flight Delayed After Pilots, Crew Members Fail Alcohol Tests

The flight crew of a recent airBaltic flight found themselves in hot water after failing alcohol tests prior to a scheduled flight from Oslo, Norway to the Greek island of Crete, the Latvian public broadcasting service LSM reported.

The flight, which was carrying 109 passengers, was delayed more than five hours after being refused permission to take off.

After receiving a tip from a concerned member of the public, police performed a routine check aboard the plane that revealed four of the flight's five crew members, including both pilots, had blood alcohol levels above 0.2 percent. 

The intoxicated crew members were escorted off the plane by police, while a new crew was brought in to operate the Star Tour charter flight.

"Zero tolerance means no alcohol. It's very straightforward — safety is our number one priority," airBaltic spokesman Janis Vanags told LSM.

"There has been an initial test and that is being followed up with more detailed tests. When we have the results we will take appropriate action. I apologize to all customers who have been affected by this incident," he added.

While the lengthy delay was undoubtedly frustrating, the shocking reason for the delay angered passengers, who were initially told that the flight's pilot was unwell. "It is surprising that people who have such huge responsibility in their jobs don't take it seriously and have so little professionalism," passenger Helena Therese Langeland told LSM.

airBaltic is Latvia's flag carrier, operating budget flights to dozens of destinations across Europe. 

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