KARACHI, Sept 19: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended on Thursday a pilot and three stewards, who are in custody of the British police and facing allegations of wrongdoing in two incidents in the United Kingdom over the past couple of days.

According to sources, the suspension of the pilot led to a flight being delayed for over 15 hours, causing hardship to the Pakistan-bound passengers.

The sources said the pilot was ‘high’ when he reported for duty and on examination tested positive for alcohol. Action was taken against the stewards on a complaint by a woman, who said the two indulged in ‘indecent behaviour’.

PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar said Pilot Irfan Faiz had to take flight PK776 from Leeds-Bradford to Islamabad on Wednesday but he was declared unfit for flying. In the absence of an alternative pilot the flight had to make an overnight stop in Leeds. It departed for its destination after a delay of over 15 hours.

Mr Tajwar said the pilot, who was under custody of the British police for investigation, had been suspended by the PIA for violation of rules.

Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (Palpa) leader Chaker Shah said the pilot had been caught by security personnel, who are very strict.

Regarding stewards Adnan Raza, M. Adnan and Farrukh Pervaiz, Mr Tajwar said it was a case of indecent behaviour that had taken place in Manchester. He said the stewards had been taken into custody by Manchester police on a complaint made by a British woman and an investigation was under way.

The PIA management had suspended the three stewards, he said.

The spokesman said the PIA was not responsible for a violation of rules or the code of conduct committed by an employee and it would not provide legal or any other support for such an act by an individual.

Upon receipt of the final report the violators would face further action in accordance with the rules of the corporation, Mr Tajwar said.

“At about 10pm last night police were called to Leeds Bradford International Airport where they arrested an airline pilot on suspicion of carrying out an activity ancillary to an aviation function while impaired by drink,” a statement from the West Yorkshire Police said, according to AFP.