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American Airlines pilot arrested just before takeoff

An American Airlines pilot has been arrested at Britain’s Manchester Airport on suspicion of being drunk, police said.

The Greater Manchester Police force said that police “received a report that an airline pilot may have been under the influence of alcohol” at the airport in northwestern England on Thursday morning. Officers arrested a 62-year-old man on suspicion of performing an aviation function while over the prescribed alcohol limit.

The unnamed pilot was due to fly from Manchester to Philadelphia at 11:05 a.m. (6:05 a.m. ET), but flight AA735 was canceled in the wake of his arrest, according to the UK’s Press Association news agency.

In a statement, American Airlines confirmed an employee had been detained, adding: “Safety is our highest priority and we apologize to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans.”

Passengers on the affected flight were rebooked on alternative flights, the airline said.

Pilots must conform to stricter standards than drivers regarding alcohol. They can have no more than 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in their body. Drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are allowed as much as 80 mg. The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents involving pilots and alcohol.

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