LONDON — A former British Airways pilot has been jailed for eight months after he went to work with a blood alcohol level far above the legal limit.

Julian Monaghan was sentenced Tuesday at Lewes Crown Court. Judge Janet Waddicor said airline passengers are "entitled to feel that they are safe" on flights.

Monaghan was arrested on Jan. 18 when a technician smelled alcohol on his breath as he prepared a Boeing 777 for takeoff on a flight from London to Mauritius.

He was removed from the cockpit in handcuffs after some passengers had already boarded.

Monaghan pleaded guilty after blood tests showed he had more than four times the legal limit of alcohol for a pilot in his system.

He had worked for British Airways for 17 years and has resigned.