4 Apr 2017

Drunk pilot jailed, banned from flying

2:19 pm on 4 April 2017

A "severely impaired" Canadian airline pilot who passed out in the cockpit has been sentenced to eight months in prison and a one-year flying ban upon release.

A Sunwing passenger jet can be seen above Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Canada on 3 July, 2016.

A stock photo of a Sunwing plane in Canadian airspace. Photo: 123RF

The Sunwing Airlines flight, carrying 105 passengers and crew, was set to make two stops in Canadian cities before heading south to Cancun, Mexico, early on New Year's Eve last year.

At the time, police said crew noticed the pilot was behaving oddly before he became unconscious in the cockpit.

The pilot was escorted off the plane and charged with exceeding blood-alcohol limits while having "care and control of an aircraft," police said.

Prosecutors identified the pilot as Slovakian Miroslav Gronych.

According to a statement, police observed that Gronych could not walk straight, his speech was slurred and he registered three times the legal limit for alcohol.

Sunwing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It said earlier it found another pilot to helm the flight that day and lauded the diligence of its other crew who concluded "the captain was unfit to fly."

- Reuters