'Fake Pilot' Arrested With 101 Passengers On Board

05/04/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

AMSTERDAM — A pilot suspected of flying with a forged license for more than a decade was arrested in the Netherlands shortly before he was scheduled to depart on a flight carrying 101 passengers, police said Wednesday.

National police said the man, identified a 41-year-old Swede who lives in Milan, was arrested in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 scheduled to fly from Amsterdam to Ankara, Turkey.

Lawyer Benno Friedberg of Turkish airline Corendon said the company had cooperated with police and had a reserve pilot prepared to take over the flight.

According to a police statement, the man had once had a commercial pilot license, but it had expired and it never qualified him for passenger flights.

"The pilot said he was relieved that his misdeeds had come to light, and he pulled off his stripes at the time of his arrest," the statement said.

"He claimed to have worked for various companies in Belgium, Britain and Italy" over 13 years, logging more than 10,000 flight hours.

Friedberg said the man had worked for Corendon for two years.