On February 26, 2018, David Arntson of Newport Beach, California, a former Alaska Airlines pilot, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, California, to operating a commercial aircraft while under the influence. Arntson was arrested and charged with this offense on January 20, 2016.
Arntson was a pilot and captain for Alaska Airlines, Inc. (Alaska) for over 30 years. On June 20, 2014, he performed safety-sensitive functions on Alaska flights 580 and 573 while under the influence of alcohol. Specifically, Arntson piloted flight 573 from San Diego, California, to Portland, Oregon, and flight 580 from Portland to Santa Ana, California. He was selected for a random drug and alcohol screening, which took place at the conclusion of flight 580 at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. Arntson’s breath alcohol concentration from the first test was 0.134 percent. A second required test was administered 15 minutes later, and his breath alcohol concentration was 0.142 percent. The maximum breath alcohol concentration permitted for pilots operating aircraft is 0.040 percent.
Arntson is scheduled to be sentenced in June 2018.