A JetBlue pilot was forced to leave the cockpit of a domestic flight before its departure because he was reportedly too drunk to fly the aircraft. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Wednesday they removed the pilot after they received reports that he had appeared to be impaired due to alcohol.

The flight was scheduled to leave the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Wednesday before it was flagged by airport security. JetBlue Flight 2465 was scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was delayed by more than four hours because of the incident.

TSA agents reportedly spotted the pilot, who appeared to be inebriated when entering the airport. Agents then informed the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, who tracked down the pilot and his scheduled flight.

Airport police removed and apprehended 52-year-old pilot James Clifton. TSA agents said they sensed something was wrong when Clifton passed through a security checkpoint at the airport. Agents said he had appeared drunk but was still able to talk and walk.

Once he was apprehended, Clifton was forced to take a breathalyzer test. The test returned with an alcohol level of 0.17%, four times over the 0.04% standard allowed for pilots as mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. After the test results returned, Clifton was then taken into police custody. He was then turned over to JetBlue security.

Due to his actions, Clifton could face federal charges for endangering the lives of the flight's crew and passengers. Clifton denied that he had been drinking the morning before the flight. He told officers that he had drank 7 to 8 alcoholic beverages the night before.

JetBlue released a statement in response to the incident, stating that Clifton has already been "removed from his duties." The airline said it considers the safety of its customers and crew members its top priority. The company added that it always strives to adhere to all federal aviation rules and requirements, particularly concerning alcohol, at all times. The airline maintained that it has a very strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the matter.

The FAA does not allow pilots to consume alcohol while on duty or within eight hours of flying an aircraft. The FAA's allowed alcohol concentration level is about half the legal limit set for driving in the U.S. of 0.08%.

JetBlue said it fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in their investigations. The airline added that it is also conducting its own internal investigation.