Airline delays flight as pilot too drunk to fly


Japan Airlines apologised on Thursday after one of its co-pilots was arrested in London for being drunk, delaying its Tokyo-bound flight, a day after another Japanese carrier reported delays blamed on a hung-over pilot.

Believing that Jitsukawa might have cheated when he had previously taken the company's internal breath test, the airline said Friday it has changed its internal rules.

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

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

Japan Airlines co-pilot arrested after failing a breath test shortly before a London to Tokyo flight pleaded guilty today to being nearly 10 times over the legal limit for alcohol.

The flight was operated in a Boeing 777 aircraft which can hold up to 244 passengers.

The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg, compared to 20mg for pilots.

He has been detained until he is sentenced on November 29.

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A Japanese pilot, who was on his way to fly a plane out of Heathrow Airport, has admitted to being drunk.

A British Airways pilot was jailed for eight months in June after he was caught more than four times the alcohol limit on duty.

It apologized today for the incident.

"We are certain (the in-house breath test) wasn't conducted properly", Muneaki Kitahara, Japan Airlines' head of communications, told a press conference.

JAL Flight 44's departure for Haneda airport scheduled for 7 p.m. last Sunday was delayed by 1 hour and 9 minutes.

The male pilot in his 40s called in sick after a night of drinking on the remote resort island of Ishigaki in southern Okinawa prefecture, the company said.

The Transport Ministry has been requiring airlines to take measures to prevent alcohol-related incidents.

Jitsukawa was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after failing an alcohol breath test.