Last Wednesday it happened in Indonesia. Citilink, owned by Garuda, initially denied the pilot was drunk. Later Citilink’s president and the airline’s production director resigned and the pilot was fired.
Then on Saturday in Canada, a pilot at Sunwing was so drunk he was found unconscious on the flight deck! When the co-pilot arrived he found the pilot drunk while doing the preflight. The co-pilot notified the airline, and when the gate crew boarded the aircraft, they found the pilot slumped in his seat. Calgary police were called and the pilot was arrested. So drunk was he that two hours after being taken into custody, he was still three times over the legal limit.
For these two gents their flying career in the airline business is likely to be curtailed. The industry has many checks and balances to ensure safe travel. Of course the security folks at the airport in Indonesia seen above should have stopped the pilot going any further – after all most passengers on the flight he was to operate cancelled their trip. But then that is not their primary job. More alarming is that in the Canadian case the drunk pilot managed to get to the flight deck – nobody noticed his condition before he got on the aircraft?
None of the crew ever wants a drunk driver and this means flying remains the safest way to travel. These two drunk pilots are an aberration. The system ensures these events are caught early on. Both Citilink and Sunwing are airlines whose reputation should not be judged by these two people.
This next video is a prank about this very subject. Happy New Year!
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.