SIA cancels flight after pilot fails alcohol test

A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight was cancelled yesterday morning after a pilot failed an alcohol test.

Flight SQ247 was due to depart Australia's Melbourne at 7am local time, and arrive in New Zealand's Wellington at 12.20pm, but the take-off was abruptly cancelled after the test. As a result, the return flight SQ248 was also cancelled, said SIA.

An SIA spokesman told The Sunday Times: "The Civil Aviation Safety Authority officials undertook a random drug and alcohol test of all crew prior to them starting their pre-flight checks.

"The pilot in question did not pass the test due to having a higher than suitable blood alcohol limit."

The spokesman said the pilot has been suspended until an investigation is undertaken. He said: "We sincerely apologise to those affected by the cancellation of these flights. However, the safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority... We are working with those customers whose travel has been inconvenienced to find suitable alternate travel arrangements as soon as possible."

Passengers had posted online about missing the flight, with a few expressing their frustration at being unable to fly to Wellington to catch a rugby match between New Zealand and South Africa.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL TEST

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority officials undertook a random drug and alcohol test of all crew prior to them starting their pre-flight checks. The pilot in question did not pass the test due to having a higher than suitable blood alcohol limit.

AN SIA SPOKESMAN

In a tweet to the SIA social media account, Twitter user Muteki Iikun said: "Care to explain why your captain of SQ247 waits until boarding time to decide (he is) too ill/ drunk to fly? Will miss the 1st All Blacks rugby match I bought tickets for and flew to Wellington... to see."

In subsequent tweets, Muteki said he was stuck at the airport for over six hours, and had no information on how to rebook his flight or leave the airport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 16, 2018, with the headline 'SIA cancels flight after pilot fails alcohol test'. Print Edition | Subscribe