Pilot jailed for lying to get British Airways job

British Airways planes parked at London City Airport.
British Airways planes parked at London City Airport.

A pilot has been jailed for lying about his flying experience to get a job with British Airways, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

Craig Butfoy, 49, of Matfield, Kent, made false claims to get and retain work with British Airways subsidiary BA CityFlyer – based at London City Airport – and former Irish regional airline Stobart Air, between April 2016 and March 2018.

He entered false details and altered entries in his flight logbook so it appeared he was more experienced than he was.

Butfoy was handed a 12-month prison sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court, east London, on Monday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to four charges of fraud and two breaches of the Air Navigation Order 2016, according to the CAA.

That was the end of the court proceedings.

Jonathan Spence, general counsel at the CAA, said: “The Civil Aviation Authority’s prosecution and the sentence imposed show that offences of this kind are taken very seriously by the Civil Aviation Authority and the courts.

“Pilot integrity is at the heart of aviation safety and we will take all steps necessary to maintain that position.”

Details outlined in court papers included an allegation that Butfoy falsely claimed to have flown 1,610 hours as a captain in a job application submitted to BA CityFlyer.

He was also accused of giving false details on his CV, including that he had held a private pilot’s licence since 1998, and fabricated documents, including a training course certificate.

British Airways said in a statement: “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.

“At no point was there any risk to customers or colleagues.”

The airline added that Butfoy had a full pilot’s licence.

BA CityFlyer operates Embraer 190 aircraft from London City Airport to domestic and European destinations.

Stobart Air, Aer Lingus’s regional carrier, collapsed in June last year after running into financial trouble during the coronavirus pandemic.