La Guardia-Bound Pilot Arrested on Alcohol Charge

Updated, 3:07 p.m. | An American Eagle pilot of a flight headed for La Guardia Airport was arrested at the airport in Minneapolis Friday morning after failing a breath test for alcohol, Minnesota authorities said.

The pilot, Kolbjorn Kristiansen, 48, was waiting for an elevator at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when airport police officers and a Transportation Security Administration agent “detected the odor of a consumed alcohol beverage” as they passed him, according to arrest papers.

Mr. Kristiansen continued on and boarded American Eagle Flight 4590, completed a preflight check and sometime after that was detained, said Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the airport. (In an earlier account, Mr. Hogan had said that a witness smelled alcohol on the pilot when he was in the cockpit doing a preflight check.)

Mr. Kristiansen was arrested just before 6 a.m. local time, about 20 minutes before the flight’s scheduled 6:20 departure, Mr. Hogan said. His blood alcohol exceeded the legal limit of 0.04 percent, and he was taken to a hospital for a blood test, Mr. Hogan said.

American Eagle, an affiliate of American Airlines, said that Mr. Kristiansen was based at La Guardia but declined to offer more details other than to say:

American Eagle has a well-established substance abuse policy that is designed to put the safety of our customers and employees first. We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation. The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation.

The flight took off with a different pilot, Mr. Hogan said, and landed at La Guardia at 12:11 p.m., about three hours behind schedule.

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