Drunk Japan Airlines pilot was 'almost 10 times over limit'

Gladys Abbott
November 2, 2018

A spokesman for the London police said a test on the co-pilot taken 50 minutes before the flight's scheduled departure revealed 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system - nearly 10 times the 20-milligram limit for a pilot.

The driver of a Heathrow Airport crew bus noticed the smell of alcohol on the co-pilot's breath and reported it to police, according to JAL.

A Japan Airlines pilot has been arrested in London's Heathrow Airport for being nearly 10 times over the 0.02 alcohol limit for pilots.

JAL withheld the co-pilot's identify, but London's Metropolitan Police identified him as 42-year-old Katsutoshi Jitsukawa.

Under the current Japanese system, crew members are prohibited from drinking within eight hours of starting work but there is no law or regulation that sets a legal limit for alcohol consumption.

He had reportedly consumed two bottles of wine and more than 1.8 litres (nearly four United States pints) of beer over six hours on the night before the flight.

The flight departed after a 69-minute delay and was operated by the remaining two pilots.

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Japan Airlines has apologised for the incident, saying that "safety remains our utmost priority" and it will "implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence".

Singapore Airlines also hit the news after one of its pilots failed a blood alcohol test in Melbourne and prompted the cancellation of two flights.

Tests found the 42-year-old first officer had 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in his system, nearly 10 times the 20 milligrams limit for a pilot.

For road drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the drink-drive limit is 80mg.

In a separate incident, it was revealed Wednesday that a captain of an ANA Group company was unable to operate a flight due to the influence of alcohol, resulting in delays to five flights.

The flight was delayed for about an hour and had to proceed with two pilots instead of the usual three.

"We are certain (the in-house breath test) wasn't conducted properly", Muneaki Kitahara, Japan Airlines' head of communications, told a press conference. He is being held in custody and will be sentenced on November 29.

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