Drunk Japan Airlines Pilot Was Nearly 10x Over Legal Alcohol Limit

Nov 2, 2018

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A pilot for Japan Airlines pleaded guilty on Thursday to having a blood alcohol level that was nearly 10 times the legal limit for pilots before a flight from London to Tokyo.

The pilot, Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, appeared in a west London magistrate court and admitted to the charge. The 42-year-old pilot said in court that he had drunk two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before the flight, according to Japanese news station NHK.

Jitsukawa was arrested on Sunday at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), the airline told the AP, for violating British aviation law. The driver of an airport crew bus smelled alcohol on the pilot and reported the pilot to the police, NHK reported. Tests showed that Jitsukawa’s system had 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. That is nearly 10 times the pilot blood alcohol limit of 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The UK’s blood alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams.

The court ordered that Jitsukawa be detained until his sentencing on Nov. 29.

The 12-hour flight from London to Tokyo was delayed more than an hour due to the incident, and ended up being operated by the two remaining JAL pilots assigned to the trip. JAL apologized to passengers for the incident.

Featured image of a Japan Airlines 777-300ER by Alberto Riva/TPG

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