'Under the influence': American Airlines pilot arrested just before take-off

American Airlines has apoligised.
American Airlines has apoligised. Photo credit: Getty

An American Airlines pilot has been arrested on suspicion of having too much to drink, just minutes before he was due to take off on a transatlantic flight.

The Greater Manchester Police force says that police "received a report that an airline pilot may have been under the influence of alcohol" at the UK's Manchester Airport on Thursday (local time).

Officers arrested a 62-year-old man on suspicion of performing an aviation function while over the prescribed alcohol limit. He has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Pilots in the UK can have no more than 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in their system.

The pilot was supposed to fly an Airbus A330 from Manchester to Philadelphia. In the wake of his arrest the flight was cancelled and passengers rebooked on other services.

"Safety is our highest priority and we apologise to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans," American Airlines said in a statement.

"We are fully co-operating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them."