Economy

Japan airline apologizes for arrested drunk pilot

Japan airline apologizes for arrested drunk pilot”

JAL said the level of alcohol in the pilot's system was suspected to have exceeded the legal limit in Britain.

Just 50 minutes before a flight from London to Japan was scheduled to depart, the pilot was arrested for having nearly 10 times the legal amount of alcohol allowed in his system.

Tests found the 42-year-old first officer recorded 0.18 blood-alcohol reading, nearly 10 times the legal limit for a pilot and four times the amount for driving.

The drink-drive limit in England is 80 milligrammes.

He was arrested on October 28 just 50 minutes before the plane was due to leave, with the flight finally taking off after a 69-minute delay. He is being held in custody and will be sentenced on November 29.

His aircraft - a Boeing 777, which holds up to 244 passengers - was delayed by more than an hour after his arrest.

It apologised on Thursday for the incident.

Japan's Transport Ministry on Thursday issued a document directing all Japanese airlines to report by month-end measures being taken to control drinking by flight staff.

JAL subsequently apologized for the breach and admitted that an in-house breath test was not conducted properly.

According to NHK, the first pre-flight test did not detect alcohol on Jitsukawa's breath.

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.

Under company rules, pilots are prohibited from drinking alcohol within 12 hours before a flight.

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

After a second breath test before takeoff showed that he had consumed "excessive alcohol", the co-pilot was arrested by British police and required to undergo a blood test which confirmed those results, the company said in a press release.



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