A United Airlines pilot was arrested at London Heathrow Airport yesterday on suspicion of being over the alcohol limit for performing an aviation function.

Heathrow Airport police says they attended an aircraft at Terminal 1 at 09:00 on 19 October and arrested a 44 year old man.

"He was arrested on suspicion of being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the proscribed alcohol limit," the police say in a statement. He is bailed to return to the police station on 16 January next year pending further enquiries.

The airline in a short statement says: "United's alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have absolutely no tolerance for abuse or violation of this well-established policy.

"Safety is out number one priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with authorities and conducting a full investigation."

While no details were released on the flight involved, it is believed to have been a United Boeing 777-operated flight to San Francisco.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news