Singapore Airlines flight from Melbourne to Wellington cancelled after pilot fails alcohol test

A generic photo of a Singapore Airlines (SIA) plane. An SIA flight from Melbourne to Wellington was cancelled on Saturday morning, after a pilot failed a random alcohol test. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight was cancelled on Saturday morning (Sept 15) 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.

In response to queries on Saturday evening, an SIA spokesman told The Straits 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 added that the pilot has been suspended from all operations 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 currently 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 passengers expressing their frustration at being unable to fly to Wellington to catch a rugby match between New Zealand and South Africa.

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 more than six hours, and had no information on how to rebook his flight or leave the airport.

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