A Virgin Atlantic captain who was sacked following rumours he’d had sex with an air stewardess during a flight to Hong Kong has won his case against unfair dismissal.
A tribunal in south London ordered the airline to pay Mike Lawson £90,323 in compensation.
The pilot of 20 years had originally claimed £2.4m.
The father of two was dismissed by the airline in 2017 two years after a flight to Hong Kong during which his two co-pilots complained of upset stomachs and later fell unconscious.
The tribunal heard that there were rumours the pilots had been poisoned by the cabin crew in revenge for being made redundant and that Mr Lawson, aged 50, had nipped out of the cockpit during the flight to have sex with one of the stewardesses.
Mr Lawson was also said to have let the stewardess fly the plane, with 200 passengers on board, while he took a break.
The airline launched an investigation and sacked Mr Lawson after he failed two flight simulation exercises.
However, the tribunal ruled that the rumours were unsubstantiated and that the tests were unfair.
Mr Lawson, who said he was shocked by the accusations against him, later went on sick leave and he was dismissed in May 2017 by Virgin Atlantic.
The airline argued it had long-standing concerns about his performance, however the tribunal concluded these were ‘undocumented and unsubstantiated’.