JetBlue pilot removed from cockpit after he appeared ‘impaired’


JetBlue Airways has removed a pilot from the cockpit after he appeared “impaired” before a flight, Buffalo News reported

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Police spokesperson said on Wednesday that James Clifton, of Orlando, Fla., passed through security checkpoints at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport when a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent noticed that he may have been impaired. 

TSA agents then contacted NFTA authorities, who removed Clifton from the cockpit of the plane that he was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

Authorities then administered a Breathalyzer test which showed Clifton’s blood-alcohol level at 0.17 percent, according to Buffalo News.

The blood alcohol limit for pilots is 0.04, according to Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, which means Clinton’s blood-alcohol level was four times over the legal limit. 

JetBlue spokesman Derek Dombrowski said in a statement to The Hill that the company has a strict zero-tolerance alcohol policy, adding that they are cooperating with federal authorities about the incident.

“The safety of JetBlue’s customers and crewmembers is our first priority. We adhere to all [Department of Transportation] rules and requirements concerning alcohol at all times and have a very strict zero tolerance internal alcohol policy,” Dombrowski said.

“We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are cooperating fully with law enforcement,” he added. “We are also conducting our own internal investigation. The crewmember involved has been removed from his duties.”

The NFTA said that Clifton was taken into custody and released to JetBlue security. Authorities added that Clifton, 52, may face federal charges for the incident, Buffalo News reported.

The Hill has reached out to Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority for comment and more information.

Updated at 11:51 a.m.

Tags Aviation Flordia Ft. Lauderdale JetBlue JetBlue Airways Transportation Security Administration

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