An airline pilot with a DUI arrest must discuss the matter with their employer. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must also receive notification of the arrest. The pilot will likely lose their flying privileges while the case is in court. If the pilot is convicted, the airline will likely fire the pilot.
The FAA is strict about its regulations regarding airline pilots and DUI charges; they can suspend or revoke a pilot’s flying license. If the pilot’s airline job is terminated because of the DUI, finding new employment with an airline may become difficult or impossible.
Following a DUI, the FAA might also require a pilot to undergo regular testing for alcohol use. The Human Intervention Motivation Study is an FAA program to help airline pilots fly again. A pilot is eligible for the program if they test positive for alcohol or are diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. The program monitors the pilot and provides treatment for the addiction.
Consequences of pilots and alcohol
Airline pilots should understand the risks associated with alcohol abuse. If a pilot drinks and drives, it’s an indication that flying and drinking is a possibility. This is dangerous because alcohol can impair a pilot’s thinking and ability to respond in an emergency. The consequences of ignoring a drug or alcohol problem could prove fatal.