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.

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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 flight
BA drunk pilot flight

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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.

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