Japan airline apologizes for arrested drunk pilot

Andrew Cummings
November 2, 2018

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

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 revealed he had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system, nearly 10 times the 20mg limit for a pilot.

At Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Thursday, the pilot pleaded guilty to being over the alcohol limit.

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

Drinking is banned more than 12 hours before departure if it could affect one's ability to operate a flight.

Following the Japan Airlines incident, Japan's transport ministry issued a document directed at all Japanese airlines calling for the implementation of measures to control excessive drinking by flight crew.

The legal limit for pilots is 20 mg, while drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are allowed as much as 80 mg. He will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 29. That is probably why he landed up at the Heathrow airport highly drunk and ready to board the flight.

In June an experienced British Airways pilot was jailed for eight months for being caught on duty while more than four times the alcohol limit. Before boarding the bus, the copilot and the two captains took a company-administered breath test at JAL's Heathrow office.

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

At a press conference Thursday in Tokyo, JAL Director and Senior Management Executive Officer Toshinori Shin said, "We feel responsible for failing to detect [the copilot's inebriation] through our company's test and that this was reported by a third party".

The incident came a day after another Japanese carrier apologised for multiple delays after a hungover pilot called in sick.

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