Man flies planes for 2 years after lying to airlines about his experience

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for lying about his professional experience before working as a commercial pilot in the UK for two years.

Craig Butfoy, 49, entered false details and fabricated his experience in his flight log so he could appear more qualified to work for BA CityFlyer, a regional airline of British Airways, and the former regional airline Irish Stobart Air.

He pleaded guilty to several fraud charges on Monday and was sentenced to jail at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Butfoy was employed by each airline for a year, from 2016 to 2018, according to The Times of London. Meanwhile, BA CityFlyer officials reportedly grew suspicious of his experience after an incident in Switzerland when he pressed a button that “no qualified pilot would do”, a source told the outlet..

He was later investigated by the CAA, when it was discovered that he had given false information on his CV and fabricated details of his flying experience in order “to obtain and retain a job,” the authority said. Among these fabrications were false claims that he had flown 1,610 hours as captain and received a training course certificate. He also falsely stated that he had held a private pilot’s license since 1998, according to the Times.

Butfoy allegedly falsified his flight hours while working for a former employer, Hangar 8 Management, according to the Times. This company also operates the same Embraer 190 jets as BA CityFlyer, the outlet noted.

However, a British Airways spokesperson maintained that Butfoy was still fully qualified and certified to operate as a pilot, and that the matter was linked to false information he provided in references during the process of candidacy. The airline said the passengers were never injured.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority, and the fully qualified pilot was suspended and an investigation launched as soon as BA CityFlyer became aware of discrepancies in his employment record,” a representative from the airline company. Newsweek in a statement Saturday morning. “At no time was there any risk to customers or colleagues.”

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for falsifying his work experience before landing a job as a pilot for a British Airways regional airline. Above, a British Airways plane takes off from London City Airport on August 6, 2015 in London.
Peter Macdiarmid//Getty Images

CAA General Counsel Jonathan Spence said earlier this week that Butfoy’s prosecution and conviction shows that “offences of this type are taken very seriously by the Civil Aviation Authority and the courts”, adding that “pilot integrity is at the heart of aviation safety and we will take all necessary steps to maintain this position.”

BA CityFlyer is a regional operator that flies planes from London City Airport to domestic and European destinations. Stobart Air no longer operates, but was previously owned by Aer Lingus.


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