Passenger Requests and Gets a Pilots Breath-Test

B-test fury over hero pilots

TWO pilots who struggled to land their plane when a warning light came on ended up being breathalysed.

The pair took three attempts to bring the aircraft down after they noticed the cockpit light.

But a passenger complained about the aborted landings and said the crew were "too relaxed".

Both the captain and co-pilot were in the clear after giving negative samples of breath when they were met by police in Terminal 3, following the flight from Lyon in France.

 The incident has prompted BA to complain formally to Manchester Airport police while the pilots’ union Balpa has also hit out at the officers and the passenger.

BA spokeswoman Sue Redmond confirmed flight BA1952, coming into Manchester on January 16, twice aborted  landings because of a warning light in the cockpit indicating problems with the landing gear.

It later emerged there was nothing wrong with the undercarriage – the warning light was faulty.

The captain aborted the first landing and carried out a so-called “go-round” so air traffic controllers could confirm visually that the landing gear had come down as normal.

He decided to carry out a second “go round” to make doubly sure there were no problems, said Ms Redmond.


The RJ100 aircraft, with 100 passengers on board, landed safely at the third attempt.

“It’s very disappointing that a passenger would assume just because a pilot was carrying out a normal safety procedure that he had been drinking when he had not been drinking at all,” added Ms Redmond.

“Apparently the female passenger had remarked while on board that the crew had seemed very relaxed.”

It is understood that BA will be writing a formal letter of complaint to the airport police.

Captain Mervyn Granshaw, chairman of Balpa, said: “We are appalled that the police seem to have acted inappropriately on the comments of a passenger who has obviously no knowledge of aviation.”

However, sources in GMP confirmed to the M.E.N. that two pilots had provided negative breath tests following a complaint from a passenger.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “On Sunday, January 16, 2005, police officers at Manchester Airport breathalysed a pilot and co-pilot after a female passenger on an inbound flight expressed concern about their conduct. Both tests proved negative and no further action was taken. Neither member of the flight crew was arrested. All incidents reported to GMP are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly.”

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