British Airways pilot jailed after being found drunk in cockpit before take-off

Galtero Lara
Junio 14, 2018

He had worked for British Airways for 17 years and has resigned.

Yesterday the father of two did not react as he was sentenced to eight months by a judge who told him he had put the safety of the aircraft and all those aboard at risk.

He said he consumed "a measure" of vodka with diet Pepsi in his hotel room on an empty stomach and barely slept before he was due on board the long-haul flight to Mauritius.

South Africa-based Monaghan, who was dressed in a dark blue suit and white shirt, had pleaded guilty to reporting for duty while over the limit at a previous hearing. The safety, if not the lives, indeed, of passengers and crew members are in the hands of the pilot.

Pilots must follow a strict "bottle to throttle" policy forbidding them from drinking eight hours before a flight.

The night before, Monaghan had been on an overnight flight from Cape Town to Heathrow, during which he drank a glass of red wine. Each is equivalent to a double bar serving.

Amy Packham, prosecuting, said the reading taken at 22:30 GMT remained so high that he must have drunk a "significant amount" just before the eight-hour limit.

    DRINKS Julian Monaghan drank three double vodkas and diet Pepsi before boarding
GETTY DRINKS Julian Monaghan drank three double vodkas and diet Pepsi before boarding

Mr Jones said Monaghan, who gave his address as care of his solicitors, had an "impressive career" after gaining his pilot licence before he was 20.

But she added: "What better deterrent for a pilot as to what can happen if you drink than to see what has happened to you".

Mr Jones said Monaghan bitterly regretted his actions, and wanted to apologise to the court, the public, passengers and his family. He appears before your honour as a shadow of the man he once was.

Lewes Crown Court in Sussex heard Monaghan's career had "gone up in smoke", he would never work as a commercial pilot again and his teenage son had not spoken to him since the incident.

Emlyn Jones, defending, said Monaghan, "was not falling down drunk, making mistakes, being rude, picking fights".

Submissions which pointed out Monaghan was only a fraction over the drink-drive limit of 80mg per 100ml of blood were branded irrelevant by the judge.

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