Japanese Pilot Arrested in United Kingdom 10 Times Over Alcohol Limit

Japanese Pilot Arrested in United Kingdom 10 Times Over Alcohol Limit

JAL said the level of alcohol in the pilot's system was suspected to have exceeded the legal limit in Britain.

JAL said the co-pilot was arrested Sunday for violating British aviation law.

Just 50 minutes before a flight from London to Japan was scheduled to depart, the pilot was arrested for having nearly 10 times the legal amount of alcohol allowed in his system.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, had nearly 10 times more than the legally permitted amount of alcohol in his bloodstream when he was arrested, CNN quoted the Metropolitan Police as saying on Thursday.

The drink-drive limit in England is 80 milligrammes.

The plane departed London for Tokyo's Haneda airport after a delay of one hour and 9 minutes, forcing the airline to operate the flight with two pilots rather than the customary three.

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

The pilot is due to be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 29 November.

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JAL said the flight was delayed more than one hour and had to be operated by the remaining two pilots.

It apologised on Thursday for the incident.

Long haul flights, particularly those longer than 12 hours, are normally piloted by two captains and a co-pilot so they can rotate breaks.

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.

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

According to NHK, the first pre-flight test did not detect alcohol on Jitsukawa's breath. The pilot was reported to have called in work sick after a night of drinking on the remote island of Ishigaki.

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

"We will use all possible means to ensure flight safety", Ishii told reporters, adding that the government will study standards enforced by other countries in implementing stricter rules for the industry.

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