Armed police arrested a British Airways pilot just before take off after the cabin crew raised fears he may have been drunk.
Attendants on the Boeing 777 flight 2063 called 999 after allegedly smelling alcohol on one of the officers’ breath.
Police boarded the plane, bound for Mauritius, shortly before the scheduled takeoff time.
Shocked passengers reportedly looked on as the officer was removed from the flight.
A 49-year-old man from West Drayton, London, has been arrested and remains in police custody, Sussex Police said on Thursday, reports Independent.
The man was arrested on suspicion of performing an aviation function when the level of alcohol was over the prescribed limit.
A spokesperson for BA said: “We’re taking this matter extremely seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries.
“We are sorry for the delay to our customers. The aircraft remained at the gate until an alternative third pilot joined the flight crew.
“The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority.”