Members of a flight crew for Latvian airline airBaltic have found themselves face to face with a Norwegian court for drinking heavy amounts of alcohol before attempting to fly a plane. The crew had started drinking alcohol the afternoon before the early morning Aug. 8 flight and told themselves they would stop drinking about five hours later. But they said they lost track of how much they drank because they were exhausted from three consecutive flights.

A Latvian airBaltic co-pilot, who admitted to drinking two bottles of whiskey and some beer before taking off on a flight from Norway to Greece on Aug. 8, has been sentenced to serve six months in jail for endangering the lives of nearly 100 passengers on board the plane, the BBC reported. A Norwegian court sentenced the unidentified 38-year-old co-pilot after he failed a Breathalyzer test, which revealed an alcohol level registered at nearly seven times the legal limit, the Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) of Ireland reported.

The court also sentenced two flight attendants as well — one to 45 days and the other to 60 days in jail — for testing positive for alcohol, RTE reported. The unidentified 50-year-old pilot of the plane also registered an alcohol level of twice the legal limit before attempting take off, the Guardian reported. He is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 17.


Norwegian police decided to test the crew members for alcohol after receiving an anonymous tip, the BBC reported. The airline said in a statement it has suspended all four crew members and is preparing to fire them. In the statement, airBaltic said it would begin pre-duty Breathalyzer tests for all “safety-critical” personnel.