A pilot on a Virgin Atlantic aircraft to Miami has been arrested on suspicion of drink-flying.

The 42-year-old crew member, who was a standby officer on hand in case either the pilot or co-pilot became indisposed, was arrested at 11:16 GMT this morning.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson confirmed the crew member had been arrested under section 94 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.

And Virgin Atlantic confirmed that the first officer had been released on bail after the incident took place.

"The flight subsequently departed Heathrow with a replacement flight deck crew," a spokesperson said.

"Virgin Atlantic would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and would like to reassure passengers that the airline will be investigating this matter thoroughly in accordance with its strict company policies in relation to operational staff.

"The safety and security of its passengers and crew is Virgin Atlantic's top priority."

The incident is not the first of its kind to have affected the airline this year, however. On March 31st a 47-year-old pilot on a London-New York flight was arrested on suspicion of being above the legal alcohol limit.

Pilots, flight engineers and cabin crew face a much stricter legal limit of alcohol while onboard than motorists do, with the legal limit standing at nine microgrammes and 35 microgrammes of alcohol in their breath respectively.

28/10/2007 20:03:52