This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Japan Airlines has been in the news a lot this year, but not for reasons that would make its PR department proud. In October, a pilot was arrested at London Heathrow (LHR) for showing up to fly a Boeing 777 to Tokyo with a blood alcohol limit 10 times the UK legal limit. The pilot pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and was fired by JAL. This was one in a series of such events for JAL over the past year. These troubling occurrences lead to flights being delayed and passengers being impacted by the crews actions.
On Friday, the Transportation Ministry of Japan issued a ‘Business Improvement Order’ for JAL. This order is issued before the ministry could take more serious actions to suspend or even completely revoke JAL’s business license. This isn’t the first time the carrier has received such an order. In 2005, the airline received the same type of order after serious episodes where pilots failed to comply with flight control instructions.
All of this comes among yet another report — this time involving a flight attendant —of a failed breathalyzer test this week. The flight attendant claims she hadn’t been drinking, but had been using mouthwash durning the flight. JAL says it is looking into the incident. JAL doesn’t currently have policies in place regarding flight attendants, but are looking to implement them as a part of its plan to address the overall issue of alcohol use by employees. The new rules will cover flight attendants as well as engineers.
The ministry didn’t stop with JAL however. In an attempt to be proactive, they also issued warnings to All Nippon Airways, ANA Wings, Skymark Airlines and Japan Air Commuter. These other airlines have also had reported issues with pilots and alcohol. The companies have been ordered to report back by Jan. 18 with measures they have implemented to address alcohol use by employees moving forward.
Incredibly, unlike most countries, Japan has no law setting limits for alcohol consumption for pilots. Airlines set their own rules around alcohol use by employees. JAL’s policy required pilots to limit drinking to 12 hours prior to their flight, a policy that has now been extended to 24 hours. In the wake of all the incidents, the ministry has implemented an eight-hour rule for pilots while it attempts to strengthen its regulations and bring them inline with other countries.
It’s clear that JAL is working to address its issues with employees and alcohol. The airline has installed more advanced breathalyzers, updated its own internal policies and company president Yuji Akasaka even took a 20% pay cut to show that management has skin in the game to get the problem solved.
Featured photo by Alberto Riva/TPG.
H/T: The Japan Times
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees