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Delta pilot gets 10-month jail sentence for drinking before Scotland to NYC flight

Former Delta Air Lines pilot Lawrence Russell has been sentenced in Scotland to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to showing up intoxicated to work.

A former Delta Air Lines pilot has been sentenced in Scotland to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to showing up for work while intoxicated ahead of a flight he was set to captain from Edinburgh to New York City last year. 

Sheriff Alison Stirling told a court Tuesday that Lawrence Russell, 63, arrived at the airport with a bag that was flagged by security and "found to contain two bottles of Jägermeister, one of which was open and was just under half full" prior to his arrest on June 16, 2023, according to the Judiciary of Scotland. 

"Lawrence Barbiers Russell Jr, on 5 March 2024, at the sheriff court in Edinburgh you pled guilty to reporting for duty at Edinburgh International Airport as a pilot rostered to pilot as captain for a Boeing 767 aircraft scheduled to depart for New York JFK airport when the proportion of alcohol in your blood was not less than 49 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, which exceeded the prescribed limit of 20 milligrams," Stirling said. "The blood alcohol limit for car drivers is 50 milligrams." 

Stirling said Russell, whom media reports say is an American, was wearing a pilot's uniform and a Delta Air Lines lanyard when his baggage was "rejected by the x-ray machine due to the volume of liquids within it." 

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"You were shown the bottles of alcohol and said that you had not drunk recently, but that you had been drinking the previous evening," she continued. "You were required to give a breath sample, and you failed. You were upset about that." 

Prosecutors say Russell eventually gave a blood sample before he was charged with reporting for duty as a pilot while exceeding the prescribed blood alcohol limit. 

Stirling said Russell was diagnosed with "Severe Alcohol Use Disorder," which he has since completed a recovery program for. 

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"The flight you were due to make to New York had to be canceled, and you are remorseful for the inconvenience that caused to your employer and the passengers on that flight," she also said. 

Delta Air Lines told Fox Business on Wednesday that it was "aware of this incident and removed the pilot from service while conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with Scottish authorities." 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS        

Russell has been let go by the airline, it added. 

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