London, September 28: British Airways has encouraged its staff to promptly report any instances of drug use by their colleagues following the recent dismissal of a pilot who had reportedly consumed cocaine before attempting to fly a plane. The pilot in question is First Officer Mike Beaton, who allegedly snorted cocaine off a woman's bare breasts and engaged in other inappropriate behaviour during a night out in South Africa. His flight had to be cancelled after a female crew member raised concerns about his condition.
According to multiple reports, Beaton was suspended, flown back to the UK as a passenger, and subsequently made to take a drug test, which he failed. In response to this incident, British Airways sent an email to its employees emphasising the company's zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behaviour. The email urged staff to report any concerns, even if they involve their close colleagues or superiors. London: 73-Year-Old Woman Passenger Thought To Be Sleeping on British Airways Flight Found Dead, Heart Attack Suspected.
Mike Beaton's drug-fueled night out in Johannesburg cost British Airways approximately USD 120,000 after the flight had to be cancelled. Beaton, a married father of one, had confessed to indulging in alcohol, snorting cocaine off a woman's bare chest, and sexual activities the night before the scheduled flight. A crew member reported his behaviour to superiors, leading to his suspension, repatriation, and eventual dismissal. Although the incident did not compromise passenger safety, it has raised concerns about the conduct of airline staff and the need for stricter measures to prevent such behaviour. British Airways Server Down? UK Airline Cancels Dozens of Flights Over Computer Problems Ahead of Busy Holiday Weekend.
The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires airlines to immediately inform them if a UK pilot has misused alcohol or drugs while boarding or being on board an aircraft. The CAA would then suspend the pilot's medical certification, prohibiting them from flying. Pilots who wish to return to flying must undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation program, and their medical certification is reinstated only if the CAA is satisfied with their recovery. British Airways emphasised its commitment to safety, stating that it referred the matter to the CAA, which led to the pilot's termination.
Beaton's reckless behaviour, documented in text messages to a flight attendant colleague, included boasting about snorting cocaine, engaging in sexual activities, and partying with a group of people he had met in a Johannesburg nightclub. His actions were exposed when he sent explicit details of his night out, prompting the flight attendant to report the incident to the airline. Beaton's dismissal serves as a stark reminder to airline employees that inappropriate behaviour, especially involving drugs or alcohol, can have severe consequences for their careers and the safety of passengers.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 28, 2023 03:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).