Japan Airlines pilot caught at Heathrow Airport WAY over alcohol limit

Japan Airlines pilot caught at Heathrow Airport WAY over alcohol limit

The tipsy copilot, identified as Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, was arrested Sunday at London's Heathrow Airport after a test administered just 50 minutes before takeoff revealed the level of alcohol in his system, the BBC reports.

The driver of a crew bus at Heathrow smelled alcohol on Jitsukawa and reported it to police, Japan's NHK public television said.

Jitsukawa was scheduled to fly a 244-seater Boeing 777 aircraft.

A spokesman for the police said a test on the man, who was due to fly as co-pilot, revealed 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood - nearly 10 times the legal limit of 20 milligrams for a pilot.

Tests found the 42-year-old first officer recorded 0.18 blood-alcohol reading, nearly 10 times the legal limit for a pilot and four times the amount for driving.

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The co-pilot acknowledged he drank about two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the previous night, NHK said.

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

The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg.

In June, British Airways pilot Julian Monaghan was jailed for eight months for being caught on duty with 86mg of alcohol in his system.

Ishii said the government will consider regulations similar to those in overseas nations that specify acceptable limits in alcohol content in breath or blood tests.

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Japan Airlines officials said they believed the pilot had tampered with the test to hide his drinking.

The airline has apologised for the breach and admitted that an in-house breath test was not conducted properly.

He was ordered detained until he is sentenced on Nov 29.

"The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee's actions", Japan Airlines said in the statement.

Under company rules, pilots are prohibited from drinking alcohol within 12 hours before a flight.

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The Daily Mail reported that although the plane bound for Tokyo's Haneda airport was delayed by only one hour and nine minutes, the airline had to make the hard decision of flying with only two pilots, rather than the customary three.

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