Drunk pilots prompt alcohol rule change at Japan Airlines

Marco Green
November 19, 2018

The failed tests delayed 12 flights, the Mainichi Shimbun reported, quoting unnamed JAL sources.

The airline will introduce more advanced breathalyzers for its domestic and global crews by Monday, November 19, Japanese national newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported.

Japan Airlines' breathalyzer had no tubes to blow into, according to local reports, and the flight's chief pilots didn't watch him breathing into the device as they should have.

According to the BBC, Japan Airlines has had 19 incidents since August past year in which pilots failed the carrier's own alcohol tests, with 12 flights being delayed as a result (other pilots were found for the other seven).

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested at Heathrow last month after he was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system, nearly 10 times the 20mg limit for a pilot under British law.

The series of measures will include new breathalyser systems at overseas airports and introducing penalties "for flight crew violating the regulated alcohol concentration level", the airline said.

Jitsukawa, who was arrested 50 minutes before he was due to co-pilot a flight to Tokyo, had consumed two bottles of wine and five cans of beer over a six-hour period the previous evening.

Japan Airlines announced it will enact stricter measures to monitor its crew members' alcohol consumption after its pilots failed multiple alcohol tests over the past year.

The finding has prompted the airline to decide it will revise its operational and other rules in January so that the number of pilots on duty, which is set in advance, won't be changed.

JAL's policy, enacted after the Heathrow incident, preventing pilots from drinking within 24 hours of a flight will remain in place, The Japan Times reported. Jitsukawa was arrested after he was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - the legal limit for a pilot in the United Kingdom is 20mg.

Japanese air carriers have an issue with drunk pilots, but they and the Japanese government are moving to fix it.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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