Flydubai pilot to be reprimanded after failing alcohol test: airline

DUBAI (Reuters) - A flydubai pilot faces disciplinary action after failing an alcohol test in Nepal on Sunday before being due to operate a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the airline said.

The captain was “tested and discovered to have a blood alcohol level above the legally acceptable level” after a fellow crew member raised concerns the pilot was intoxicated, a flydubai spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday.

Flydubai is investigating the incident, the spokeswoman said, adding that the pilot would be reprimanded.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said it was working with flydubai on the investigation. A spokesman for the regulator told Reuters that under UAE law any positive test for any crew member while on duty can result in them losing their license permanently.

“The GCAA takes passengers’ safety and security very seriously (and) thus enforces a zero tolerance policy for those exceeding the regulation on all UAE Airlines,” the spokesman said.

The pilot, who was tested before boarding the plane, was deemed unfit to fly and a replacement crew was sent to Kathmandu to operate the flight to Dubai, the airline spokeswoman said.

The flight arrived in Dubai 10 hours and 30 minutes later than originally scheduled. The pilot was not identified.

Kathmandu airport General Manager Raj Kumar Chhetri told Reuters the pilot was not arrested because he was not a Nepali citizen and that he had returned to Dubai.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai, additional reporting by Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu; Editing by David Evans and Adrian Croft