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A JetBlue pilot was removed from the cockpit and registered 0.17% on a breathalyzer

A JetBlue pilot was removed from the cockpit of a Fort Lauderdale-bound flight by police at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York on Wednesday after registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.17%, more than four times the Federal Aviation Administration's limit of 0.04%.

The pilot was passing through airport security when a Transportation Security Administration officer noticed he was acting drunk, The Buffalo News reported. The officer notified Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police, who administered a breathalyzer test. He was taken into custody before being released to JetBlue security personnel.

The pilot has been identified as James Clifton, 52, of Orlando, Fla.

The FAA told NPR it "is investigating allegations that an airline pilot attempted to report for duty while under the influence of alcohol. The agency takes these matters seriously."

The FAA prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol while on duty or within eight hours of performing flight duties. FAA regulations also prohibit pilots from flying or attempting to fly an aircraft if their alcohol concentration is 0.04% or greater, which is half the legal limit in the U.S. of 0.08%.

JetBlue Flight 2465 was scheduled to depart Buffalo for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 6:15 a.m. but was delayed more than four hours, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Jeff Dean
Jeff Dean is the 2021 Military Veterans in Journalism intern for NPR reporting for the Business Desk and Newsdesk teams.
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