A Japanese Airline Pilot has admitted to being drunk before he was due to fly from London Heathrow to Tokyo after failing a breath test, the UK Press Association Reports
Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, had almost 10 times more than the legally permitted amount of alcohol in his bloodstream when he was arrested, the Metropolitan Police said.
At Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court Thursday, the pilot pleaded guilty to being over the alcohol limit.
Japan Airlines flight JL44 was due to take off just 50 minutes after tests showed that First Officer Jitsukawa had 189 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in his body.
The pilot was several times above the 20 mg limit for pilots. Car drivers are allowed a legal limit of 80 mg in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England.
He was caught after the driver of a crew bus smelled alcohol and called the police, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.
Jitsukawa was scheduled to fly a 244-seater Boeing 777 aircraft. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced November 29 at Isleworth Crown Court.
The pilot admitted that he had drunk two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before the flight, NHK reported.
Japan Airlines has apologized for the incident. The airline said ‘safety remains our utmost priority’ and it will ‘implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence.’
The flight was eventually operated by the two remaining pilots and departed after more than an hour’s delay.
This is just the recent case in what is looking like a recent trend of Alcohol-related disruptions in flight operations.
Japan Airlines is not the only major Japanese airline forced to apologize for alcohol-related disruption, Agence France-Presse reported.
In late October, All Nippon Airways said sorry after a pilot fell ill following a night of heavy drinking and caused delays to five domestic flights.
Nor is the issue confined to Japanese airlines. In June, experienced British Airways pilot Julian Monaghan was jailed for eight months after he was found to be more than four times over the alcohol limit before a flight from London Gatwick to Mauritius.