Drunken AirBaltic crew members leave hundreds of holidaymakers stranded

  • 2015-08-10
  • Donna Doerbeck

Latvia’s state airline AirBaltic suffered an embarrassing setback in the Norwegian capital of Oslo last Saturday: a police investigation arrested four of its crew members for drunkenness, leaving a plane bound for Greece grounded, and over a hundred holidaymakers stranded.

Anonymous tip off

According to Edith Ek Sörensen, a spokesman for the Norwegian police, the officers were warned about the drunkenness of AirBaltic’s crew members by an anonymous call in the early hours of the morning.

Following this tip off, four out of five crew members - the pilot, the co-pilot and two stewardesses - were arrested and taken to a nearby hospital for blood tests.

All of them had an alcohol concentration in their blood that was above the legal alcohol limit, according to a report by the news agency AFP.  

AirBaltic’s General Conditions of Carriage warn that passengers can be refused carriage if their "mental or physical state, including [the] impairment from alcohol or drugs, presents a hazard or risk to [Themselves], to Passengers, to crew, or to property".

Those conditions apply not only to passengers, but also for crew members.

The whole crew had to be replaced, which is why flight BT7843 from Oslo to Chania on the Greek Island of Crete was delayed by 4 hours and 45 minutes.  

The airline subsequently apologized to the 109 passengers, thanking the Norwegian airport and police authorities for their contribution in a press release. The airline has promised to think about additional health and safety measures to make sure this will not happen in future.

Airbaltic, which is 99.8-percent owned by the Latvian state, serves about 60 destinations with direct flights from its home base in Riga, Latvia.