James Clifton, 52, of Orlando, Florida, United States is a pilot. He was supposed to be the pilot of a JetBlue Airways flight scheduled to depart from Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, USA at 6:15 a.m. on March 2, 2022.
Minutes before takeoff to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at the airport noticed Clifton acting intoxicated so the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) removed him from cockpit of the flight. When he was given a Breathalyzer, he registered a .17, which is twice the legal limit for driving in the U.S. and four times the legal limit for pilots.
Pilots are not allowed to use alcohol within eight hours of a flight , according to the Federal Aviation Administration rulebook. They also may not have a blood alcohol content above 0.04 percent.
Clifton was taken into federal custody and released to JetBlue security. The plane left Buffalo, New York at 10:25 a.m. and landed in Fort Lauderdale at 1:11 p.m.
“We are aware of the incident that occurred this morning in Buffalo and are cooperating fully with law enforcement,” JetBlue spokesperson Derek Dombrowski told News 4. “We are also conducting our own internal investigation. The crewmember involved has been removed from his duties.”
JetBlue is headquartered in Long Island, City, Queens, New York. It was founded in August 1998 as NewAir and it commenced operations on February 11, 2000 as jetBlue Airways.
In 2020, JetBlue ranked 394th financially on the Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue. It is the seventh largest airline in North America by passengers carried.
Buffalo Niagara International Airport
Located in Cheektowaga, New York, Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the third busiest airport in New York. It serves not only Buffalo but also the southern Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, Canada.
The airport is owned and operated by the NFTA, which is owned by the state of New York. On average there are over 100 flights per day at the airport, which has two runways.