Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Drunk Japanese pilot arrested one hour before his flight

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested Sunday at Heathrow Airport for violating British aviation law Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested Sunday at Heathrow Airport for violating British aviation law
Jodi Jackson | 04 November, 2018, 12:01

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 20 milligrams limit for a pilot.

However, a bus driver noticed the smell of alcohol while transporting flight crew to airplanes and other destinations and notified a relevant airport official.

JAL Flight 44's departure from London at 7pm on Sunday local time was delayed by more than an hour.

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

He was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg.

Jitsukawa said he had drunk about two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the previous night, NHK said.

The Japan Airlines plane departed London after a delay of one hour and 9 minutes.

The normal legal limit for driving in the United Kingdom would be 80 milligrams per liter.

Drug and alcohol testing is now required by many regulators and the European Union earlier this year extended mandatory alcohol testing to pilots and cabin crew of all airlines flying into its jurisdiction.

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

He has been kept in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 29 November.

The aircraft, which could have been piloted by Jitsukawa, took off after a 69-minute delay.

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".

JAL had prohibited its pilots from drinking alcohol 12 hours before getting on their flights.

In a statement JAL said: "The Company does not condone the individual's actions, as safety remains our utmost priority".

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.

His heavy drinking also forced the company to operate the flight from Heathrow airport to Haneda airport in Tokyo with two pilots rather than the normal three.

Japan Airlines, in turn, issued an apology for the incident.

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