YIKES: Major Airline Pilot Relieved From Duty After Testing Positive for Being Intoxicated

A pilot who appeared to be drunk on Wednesday morning, was removed from the cockpit at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. He was employed by JetBlue, according to a press release from the airport and a statement from JetBlue.

Jamess Clifton, 52, of Orlando, Florida, was passing through security when a TSA agent “noticed he may have been impaired,” according to the press release. Tests confirmed the pilot had a blood alcohol level of 0.17 percent, over four times the allowed 0.04 limit for flying. 

The flight was temporarily delayed Wednesday morning. Passengers on their way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said they watched from the plane as the pilot, one of two scheduled for the flight, was placed in a patrol car.

Clifton’s copilot said that the two had gone out for dinner the night before, and that Clifton stayed behind at the restaurant when he left. He missed the airport shuttle the next morning and arrived late to the airport in an Uber, the report said.

JetBlue said in a statement. “We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are cooperating fully with law enforcement. 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. An internal investigation was planned in the matter and the crewmember has been removed from his duties.”

JetBlue Airways Corportation also said in a statement, “The crewmember involved has been removed from his duties.”

Clifton was not immediately charged, the police report said. The U.S. attorney’s office declined comment on Thursday.

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