In a disturbing and embarrassing incident for Cathay Pacific, flight CX254 from London to Hong Kong, carrying 262 passengers, was delayed and rescheduled after one of its pilots was arrested and then bailed on a charge of carrying knives.
The pilot was detained by police at Heathrow Airport after being found “in possession of some knives”, the Guardian reported.
The flight, operated with one of the airline’s B777s, was due to take off for Hong Kong at 10.20pm on Saturday. The airline said it was delayed following a “crew-related incident”.
A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific stated: “Cathay Pacific can confirm that CX254 was delayed due to a crew-related incident concerning some items found in the pilot’s hand luggage. At no point were passengers or staff put at risk. Given timings, Cathay Pacific were unable to organise a relief crew and therefore passengers experienced an overnight delay. Cathay Pacific takes this very seriously and is liaising with the relevant authorities.”
London’s Metropolitan police confirmed that they were called to a staff search area at Heathrow, about 80 minutes before the flight’s scheduled take-off time, to find a flight crewmember in possession of knives.
“Officers attended and subsequently a member of the flight crew, a man, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place.
“He was taken into custody at a local police station where he was later bailed to return in mid-May pending further inquiries. The CID at Heathrow airport is investigating.”
The type or number of knives were not disclosed.
Any unorthodox behaviour by pilots comes at a sensitive time, after last month’s horrific Germanwings crash.
Passengers were put up in hotels overnight and the Cathay flight was rescheduled. The airline said the flight departed at 2.30pm on Sunday, about 14 hours later than originally scheduled.
Written by : Peter Needham