A man stands in front of Aeroflot jet. Picture: ADRIAN DENNIS

Moscow -

Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot said Wednesday it had sacked a pilot after pre-flight checks showed he was drunk ahead of a long-haul internal flight.

“The pilot will be sacked from the company,” Aeroflot wrote on Twitter, saying that the pilot's blood alcohol content was measured at 0.8 - defined as a state of light intoxication.

The level of 0.8 would mean someone has trouble judging distances and focusing in different light conditions as well as having delayed reactions.

Passengers were forced to wait almost 10 hours for their flight from Blagoveshchensk on the Chinese border to Moscow on Tuesday.

The pilot will have to pay all the costs of the delay, Aeroflot said.

Aeroflot stressed that the pilot's condition was identified in pre-flight testing, preventing him from flying.

“We cannot control what a pilot does during his time off,” it said.

A drunk navigator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.81 was implicated when a RusAir plane crashed in 2011 in the northwestern region of Karelia.

Russia has a high number of air crashes involving small regional airlines, but Aeroflot is seen as having a good safety record. - Sapa-AFP