Pilot due to fly over 250 passengers arrested at Heathrow for 'possession of knives'
An airline pilot due to fly more than 250 passengers from London to Hong Kong has been arrested at Heathrow for alleged possession of knives.
The Cathay Pacific pilot, believed to be 61, was taken into custody around an hour before his Boeing 777 was due to take off on Saturday evening.
He was later released from a local police station on bail, to return there next month.
With no relief crew available, the passengers had to wait until Sunday to get away.
The incident comes less than four weeks after the Germanwings French Alps plane disaster in which cockpit voice recorder evidence suggests the co-pilot deliberately crashed the Airbus A320 with the loss of 150 lives.
On the Heathrow incident, a Met Police spokesman said: "On Saturday at around 9.10pm police at Heathrow Airport were called to a staff search area after a search of a member of flight crew, for a flight later that night, found them in possession of some knives.
"Officers attended and subsequently the member of flight crew, a man, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place.
"He was taken into custody at a local police station where he was later bailed to return to in mid May pending further inquiries. The CID at Heathrow Airport is investigating."
A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said: "We will continue to co-operate with the authorities throughout the investigation.
"We apologise for the delay and inconvenience caused to the 262 passengers booked on CX254."
The airline assisted passengers with overnight accommodation and alternative flight arrangements. CX254 later departed Heathrow at 2.47pm on Sunday and arrived in Hong Kong on Monday at 9.31am local time.
The spokeswoman said: "The incident happened on the ground. As the incident is subject to police investigation, we are unable to provide further information."