The would-be pilot was apprehended in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 at Schiphol Airport just minutes before it was set to leave for Ankara.
Expressing relief that his duplicity had come to light, the Swede claimed he had flown for 13 years with a forged licence for companies in the UK, Belgium and Italy, spending a total of 10,000 unlicensed hours in the air.
Dutch police said they were able to arrest the 41-year-old on suspicion of holding a fake pilot licence thanks to a tip-off from the Swedish authorities.
The Swede, resident in Milan, had once possessed a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) but this had long since expired, Dutch police said. He subsequently forged an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), the highest level of aircraft pilot licence and one which enabled him to fly large passenger planes.
An arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Friday, March 5th.
Following the arrest, Turkey’s Corendon Airlines was quickly able to bring in a replacement pilot and the plane left for Ankara at the scheduled time.