Japan Airlines pilot admits being nearly 10 times over alcohol limit

Randal Sanchez
November 4, 2018

The drunk pilot failed a breath test just 50 minutes before the Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo.

His arrest came after the driver of a Heathrow Airport crew bus noticed the smell of alcohol on the co-pilot's breath and alerted police, JAL said.

JAL Flight 44's departure from London at 7pm on Sunday local time was delayed by more than an hour.

Ishii's remarks came after co-pilot Katsutoshi Jitsukawa pleaded guilty to being over the legal alcohol limit at a United Kingdom court.

He was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg.

The plane departed London after a delay of 69 minutes.

The limit for drivers in Britain is 80 milligrams.

It apologized today for the incident.

Julian Monaghan drank three double vodkas in his hotel room on an empty stomach before he was due on board a flight from Gatwick Airport to Mauritius on January 18.

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The airline said the co-pilot was arrested Sunday at Heathrow Airport for violating British aviation law.

JAL had prohibited its pilots from drinking alcohol 12 hours before getting on their flights.

It also announced it would roll out a more sophisticated breathalyzer system to monitor its pilots' alcohol overseas later this month, according to NHK.

The pilot later pleaded guilty before a court to being over the legal limit, and is expected to be sentenced on November 29.

In a statement JAL said: "The Company does not condone the individual's actions, as safety remains our utmost priority". The pilot was reported to have called in work sick after a night of drinking on the remote island of Ishigaki.

A passenger walked past the Japan Airlines (JAL) logo, in January 2010, at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

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

"Although we conduct regular or unannounced safety inspections for airlines, detailed drinking regulations are left to the discretion of each company", said an official at the transport ministry's aviation safety and security department.

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