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Pilot of big jet was almost 10 times over alcohol limit

November 6, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A major international airline that serves Australia has apologised after one of its pilots was found to be 10 times over the legal alcohol limit at London’s Heathrow Airport, just before he was due to fly a B777-300 on a long-haul international flight sector of almost 12 hours.

Japan Airlines first officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa pleaded guilty at a west London Court to having a blood alcohol level of 189mg per 100ml. The limit for commercial airline pilots is 20mg per 100ml.

Authorities first heard disturbing rumours of a drunken pilot from the driver of a crew bus, who smelled alcohol on Jitsukawa and reported it, according to reports from London.

Jitsukawa was scheduled as first officer on JAL flight JL44 to Tokyo Haneda on 28 October 2018, but was breathalysed an hour before departure, removed from the aircraft and arrested. The incident delayed the flight by over an hour.

News outlet AoL quoted JAL sources as saying Jitsukawa may have improperly cleared its standard alcohol check, as the airline’s breath-testing equipment did not detect any issues.

Japan Airlines B777-300


JAL issued an apology, promising it would “implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence.”

“Safety remains our utmost priority,” the airline added.

Jitsukawa was remanded in custody and is due to face sentencing in London later this month, on 29 November 2018.

Written by Peter Needham


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