ASA, Mesa Pilots Caught Drunk on the Job

 - May 6, 2008, 5:39 AM

Pilots from two different regional airlines lost their jobs for alcohol-related offenses over the span of two weeks, further adding to an undercurrent of public suspicion produced by the July 1 arrest of two America West pilots for the same reason. On July 28 airport officials removed an ASA first officer from a scheduled flight from Wilmington, N.C., to Atlanta after a TSA security screener claimed to smell alcohol on his breath. All 28 passengers were removed from the flight after sitting in the 30-seat turboprop for roughly half an hour after its scheduled departure. The Atlanta-based Embraer Brasilia pilot resigned from the company three days later.

Less than two weeks passed when, on August 9, airport security in Little Rock, Ark., detained two Mesa Airlines Embraer ERJ-145 pilots and a flight attendant on their way to a scheduled flight to Charlotte, N.C. Mesa fired the captain, who tested positive for alcohol levels above the legal limit. The Phoenix-based airline suspended the first officer and accepted the resignation of the flight attendant, both of whom passed the Breathalyzer test.