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An American Airlines pilot has been arrested shortly before embarking on an overseas flight on suspicion that he was drunk.

The 62-year-old pilot was gearing up to fly to Philadelphia last week before he was pulled up at Manchester Airport in the UK by police, who received a report that he may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Greater Manchester Police told the media that the man was arrested on suspicion of “performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol”, which is no more that 20 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

The polit has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.

An American Airlines spokesperson told Travel Weekly it was aware of an incident involving a member of its crew at Manchester Airport last week, and apologised to affected customers.

“The employee was detained and the flight, AA735 to Philadelphia, was cancelled,” the spokesperson said.

“Safety is our highest priority and we apologise to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans; all were rebooked on alternative flights the same day.

“We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them.”

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