Drunk Japanese pilot arrested at London Heathrow airport

- A Monitor Report 03 Nov, 2018  |    -      +
TOKYO : A Japan Airlines (JAL) pilot who was arrested shortly before a flight at London Heathrow airport for being drunk had almost 10 times the legal alcohol limit for a pilot.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, a pilot of Japan Airlines, was arrested by British police on October 28 and required to undergo a blood test that confirmed those results. He was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg.

The JAL first officer pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol limit at a Magistrates' Court. Jitsukawa was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 29.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that police were alerted by the driver of a crew bus who smelled alcohol on the pilot.

He had been due to be a cockpit crew flying JAL flight JL44 to Tokyo airport but failed a breath test 50 minutes before the departure time.

However, the Boeing 777 aircraft took off after a 69-minute delay and had to proceed with two pilots instead of the usual three.

JAL issued an apology and pledged to "implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence", adding that "safety remains our utmost priority".

The airline said the pilot drank two bottles of wine and five cans of beer for six hours from 6 pm the night before the flight to Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

He was detained after the driver of the crew bus noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath.

The incident came just a day after All Nippon Airways revealed a hung-over pilot had caused multiple flight delays.

The last-minute sickie forced the airline to delay five flights linking Okinawa island and smaller regional islands, affecting 619 passengers.

In another case a Japan Airlines flight attendant was caught sneaking a beer into a plane rest room and drinking it there in mid-flight.

The case comes after All Nippon Airways Co. apologised for five flight delays in Okinawa last week because a pilot became unwell after a night of drinking.

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