A British Airways pilot allegedly tried to fly a passenger jet while drunk

  • Julian Monaghan was arrested aboard a British Airways flight in January, which was scheduled to fly from London to Mauritius.
  • Police arrested him on suspicion of trying to fly the plane while drunk.
  • Authorities have charged him after he allegedly tried to fly while more than four times over the legal alcohol limit.


A British Airways commercial pilot has been charged after he allegedly tried to fly a passenger jet full of people on a long-haul trip to Mauritius while more than four times over the legal alcohol limit.

Julian Monaghan, 49, was arrested on the deck of an evening flight from London to Mauritius after police believed he was going to try to fly the plane while over the legal limit. 

Monaghan — who is no longer employed by British Airways — was scheduled to pilot the Boeing 777 out of Gatwick airport on an 8:45 p.m. flight when he was arrested. He was one of three pilots on board for the 12-hour journey.

RELATED: These are the safest low-cost airlines in the world: 

10 PHOTOS
10 safest low-cost airlines in the world
See Gallery
10 safest low-cost airlines in the world
#1: Aer Lingus
#2: Flybe
#3: Frontier Airlines
#4: HK Express
#5: JetBlue
#6: Jetstar Australia 
#7: Thomas Cook Condor
#8: Virgin America
 
#9: Vueling
#10: WestJet
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The incident took place in January, but was confirmed officially when the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) formally charged him with breaking the legal alcohol limit.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police told Business Insider Monaghan was arrested "on suspicion of performing an aviation function when the level of alcohol was over the prescribed limit."

BA drunk pilot flightGoogle Maps/Business Insider

According to the CPS, Monaghan was more than four times over the limit. In the UK, pilots can have no more than 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood — but the CPS claims Monaghan had 86mg.

At that level of intoxication, Monaghan would also have been too drunk to drive in England (that limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood).

The flight eventually took off, more than two hours later, after British Airways found a replacement.

Monaghan lives in South Africa, and when he was employed would start his day there and fly around the world. He is due to appear in court in Crawley, southern England, on June 6.

A statement provided to Business Insider by British Airways said: "We have taken this matter extremely seriously and will continue to assist the police with their inquiries.

"The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority."

The company stressed that Monaghan no longer works for them, though would not comment on whether he was fired specifically for this incident.

NOW WATCH: Wall Street is divided over whether stocks can storm back from their latest meltdown

RELATED: Here are the 9 best airlines in America: 

9 PHOTOS
9 best airlines in America
See Gallery
9 best airlines in America

9. Hawaiian Airlines

Previous rank: 8

Why it's here: Hawaiian finished last on the TPG list. The Honolulu-based airline's premium ticket prices and Hawaii-centric route network fell victim to TPG new metrics which increased focus on airfare and network size.

8. JetBlue

Previous rank: 4

Why it's here: JetBlue suffered the most significant drop in this year's rankings. The New York-based airline struggled with on-time arrivals, baggage and change fees as well as customer satisfaction. JetBlue's position as a boutique carrier hurts it rankings with respect to the size of its route network as well as the lavishness of its frequent flyer program.

7. Spirit Airlines

Previous rank: 10

Why it's here: Spirit jumped three spots in the rankings due to its improvement in areas such as the number of lost baggage while also benefiting from the missteps of its rivals and the merger of Alaska and Virgin America.

(Getty)

6. American

Previous rank: 5

Why it's here: American Airlines didn't make many moves apart from a one spot from after the Virgin/Alaska merger. The airline struggled with on-time arrivals, fees, lost baggage, and customer satisfaction.

(Getty)

5. Frontier Airlines

Previous rank: 9

Why it's here: Frontier Airlines made a surprising jump up the rankings. The ultra-low-cost carrier benefitted from its route expansion and its improvement in baggage handling.

4. United Airlines

Previous rank: 2

Why it's here: United Airlines rocky 2017 caused it to fall two spots, but not for the reasons you'd expect. United saw marked improvement in operational effectiveness with the number customer complaints down 17% while also decreasing the number of people involuntarily bumped from flights. However, the airline couldn't keep up with its rivals in areas such as airfare and the quality of its airport lounges.

3. Delta Air Lines

Previous rank: 7

Why it's here: Delta made big strides in airfare, the involuntary bumps, and its frequent flyer program while maintaining its high rankings in on-time performance, lost baggage, and the size of its route network.

2. Southwest Airlines

Previous rank: 6

Why it's here: Southwest improved four spots over the past year thanks to lower airfare and the expansion of its sizable route network. The airline's stellar customer satisfaction score and its free checked baggage policy also helped.

1. Alaska Airlines

Previous rank: 1

Why it's here: Alaska Airlines maintained its top spot by scoring in the top three in several key criteria including airfare, on-time arrivals, customer satisfaction, baggage handling, and its frequent flyer program.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Here's what happened on the fatal Southwest Airlines flight

Read Full Story