A flight attendant who tested negative before the flight has resigned, and a co-pilot who also tested negative has been suspended, the airline said.
Peter Treanor, 29, of Charlotte, N.C., had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.06 percent and 0.05 percent in two tests administered after screeners at Little Rock National Airport smelled alcohol on him, the airline said.
Federal regulations prohibit pilots from operating an aircraft or performing other sensitive functions within eight hours of consuming alcohol or if they have an alcohol concentration of at least 0.04.
Treanor's first officer and a flight attendant passed alcohol tests given at the same time, the airline said.
The first officer was put on leave without pay pending further investigation, and the flight attendant followed through on a previously submitted resignation, the airline said. Brian Gillman, a spokesman for the Phoenix-based airline, wouldn't elaborate.
Treanor and the flight attendant did not return telephone calls seeking comment and the first officer identified on Little Rock police records said he was instructed not to comment.
The three were stopped Friday afternoon as they were about to board an Embraer 145, a small regional jet operated under a joint agreement and flying as US Airways Express, said John Clabes, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. The pilots had been scheduled to fly the plane, with 28 passengers, from Little Rock to Charlotte, N.C.
When security screeners suspected the pilots had been drinking, the agents notified the local Flight Standards Office and city police, Little Rock National Airport spokesman Phillip Launius said.
The passengers were placed aboard other flights.
"The system essentially worked here, and that is what we are looking at," Launius said.
Gillman said the three were brought to Phoenix over the weekend for the airline's investigation.
"I believe it is (Treanor's) position that he quit drinking eight hours prior to the flight," Gillman said. "Having said that, there is still a zero tolerance policy. Any positive indication of alcohol results in termination."
In Wilmington, N.C., on July 29, the pilot of an ASA flight to Atlanta was grounded after a security screener smelled alcohol on his breath. He was placed on paid leave pending an investigation, but later resigned.
On July 1, two America West pilots were removed from their plane after security crews suspected they had been drinking before a flight from Miami to Phoenix. The pair pleaded innocent to charges of operating an aircraft under the influence and operating a motor vehicle under the influence. The airline has fired them.
For motor vehicles, drivers in Arkansas are considered intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent.