AirTrans fires pilot charged with intoxication

/ Source: The Associated Press

AirTran Airways has fired a pilot who was arrested and charged with operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol.

A breath test found that pilot Oliver Paul Reason Jr. had a blood alcohol level of 0.09 when he was arrested Wednesday, according to a police report. The legal limit for driving in Nevada is 0.08, and federal regulations prohibit flying at 0.04 percent or higher.

After being released from the Clark County Detention Center on Thursday, Reason, 37, was flown to Atlanta, where company officials fired him for violating a policy against flying with a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.04 percent, said Tad Hutcheson, an airline spokesman.

Reason did not return a message left at his home in Newnan, Ga., near Atlanta. The National Pilots Association, which represents AirTran pilots, would not comment on the case.

Las Vegas police were called Wednesday after a security checkpoint screener smelled alcohol on Reason’s breath. Reason told officers he had not had a drink in about 10 hours, according to the arrest report.

Orlando-based AirTran Holdings Inc. said the Atlanta-bound aircraft was held at the gate and the pilot never took command of the plane. The flight was canceled.

Reason could lose his pilot license if a Federal Aviation Administration investigation finds he violated regulations. Besides the blood-alcohol limit, federal rules also prohibit pilots from drinking alcohol less than eight hours before a flight.