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Japan Airlines pilot held for being drunk

05 November 2018

Japan Airlines Co. has apologized after one of its co-pilots was arrested in London for failing an alcohol test before flying on a London-Tokyo flight.

First officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, was already in the cockpit when police detained him on Sunday evening.

Despite passing a breath test at the company's office in Heathrow, the crew bus driver smelt alcohol on Jitsukawa and reported it to the airport's security personnel who contacted local police.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested by United Kingdom police at Heathrow airport for violating British aviation law, the airline said in a press release.

Results from the breathalyzer test showed he had 189 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system.

A breath test showed he was nearly 10 times over Britain's legal alcohol limit for pilots.

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

For comparison, the legal limit for drivers in England and the U.S.is 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, a BAC of 0.08%.

He has since appeared in court in the United Kingdom, where he is reported to have pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol limit. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced November 29 at Isleworth Crown Court.

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

"We will implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence and to regain our customer's trust".

It apologised on Thursday for the incident.

The flight was eventually operated by the two remaining pilots and departed after more than an hour's delay.

Japan Airlines pilot held for being drunk