Ten times over the limit: drunk Japanese pilot arrested in London

Heathrow Airport Image Getty

Heathrow Airport Image Getty

He had been due to be part of a crew flying a Japan Airlines (JAL) flight JL44 to Tokyo but failed a breath test 50 minutes before the departure time.

His arrest came after the driver of a Heathrow Airport crew bus noticed the smell of alcohol on the co-pilot's breath and alerted police, JAL said.

Japan Airlines said the flight was delayed more than an hour and had to be operated by the remaining two pilots.

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

The 42-year-old co-pilot returned a reading of 0.189, or 189mg of alcohol per 100ml - more than twice the 0.08 drink-drive limit in England.

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

Japanese law bans pilots and co-pilots from consuming alcoholic beverages within eight hours of the start of their duties.

In the United States, a baggage handler working on an American Airlines flight at Kansas City International Airport while allegedly drunk on Saturday fell asleep in the forward cargo hold of a Boeing 737-800 and flew to Chicago.

JAL said the pilot is suspected of improperly clearing the alcohol check, as the airline's breath-testing equipment did not detect a problem.

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

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Pilots should be highly responsible and should adhere to safety standards when it comes to both the craft, as well as themselves.

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

'The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee's actions, ' JAL said in the press release. The pilot was reported to have called in work sick after a night of drinking on the remote island of Ishigaki.

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

Following the two incidents, the transport ministry urged airline companies to strictly comply with rules on drinking.

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