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A Cathay Pacific pilot has been arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of carrying knives

The man, who flies for Cathay Pacific and is believed to be 61, was taken into custody before his Boeing 777 was due to fly from Heathrow to Hong Kong on Saturday evening.

He was later released from a West London police station and bailed to return there in May.

However, there was no relief crew available, and more than 250 passengers had to wait until yesterday to fly.

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."

We apologise for the delay and inconvenience caused to the 262 passengers booked on CX254.

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 yesterday and arrived in Hong Kong this morning at 9.31am local time.

"The incident happened on the ground. As the incident is subject to police investigation, we are unable to provide further information."

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.

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