Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Drunk Japan Airlines pilot was 'almost 10 times over limit'

Drunk Japan Airlines pilot was 'almost 10 times over 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.

Japan Airlines Co. apologized Thursday after one of its co-pilots was arrested in London for failing an alcohol test before departing on a London-Tokyo flight. It also announced it would roll out a more sophisticated breathalyzer system to monitor its pilots' alcohol overseas later this month, according to NHK.

A crew bus driver alerted authorities about smelling alcohol on Jitsukawa's breath.

At Uxbridge Magistrates' Court 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 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system - nearly 10 times the 20-milligram limit for a pilot. The limit for drivers in Britain is 80 milligrams.

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Aircraft Boeing 777 took off after the 69-minute delay. He is expected to remain in custody until his sentencing on November 29.

"The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee's actions", JAL said in a press release.

Japan Today reports that the pilot had consumed two bottles of wine and five cans of beer over a six-hour period starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the night before JAL's Flight 44 was set to depart London for Tokyo's Haneda International Airport at 7 p.m.

Japan Airlines have issued an apology and pledged to "implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence", adding that "safety remains our utmost priority".

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