Japan Airlines pilot admits being almost 10 times over alcohol limit

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A Japanese pilot has confessed to being nearly 10 times over the alcohol limit shortly before a flight from Heathrow Airport.

He was detained after the driver of the crew bus noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath.

Japan Airlines said the flight was delayed more than an hour and had to be operated by the remaining two pilots.

Yesterday the pilot pleaded guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court to exceeding the alcohol limit.

Tests found the 42-year-old first officer had 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in his system, nearly 10 times the 20 milligrams limit for a pilot.

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The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg per 100ml of blood, compared to 20mg for pilots. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced November 29.

The airline issued an apology, promising "immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence".

The flight departed after a 69-minute delay.

In June a British Airways pilot was jailed for eight months for being caught on duty with 86mg of alcohol in his system. That is probably why he landed up at the Heathrow airport highly drunk and ready to board the flight.

Jitsukawa was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after failing an alcohol breath test.

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For the London-Haneda flight, the airline operates the route with three pilots on board although the flying time is under 12 hours.

In a separate incident, it was revealed Wednesday that a captain of an ANA Group company was unable to operate a flight due to the influence of alcohol, resulting in delays to five flights. The pilot was reported to have called in work sick after a night of drinking on the remote island of Ishigaki.

The last-minute sickie forced the airline to delay five flights linking Okinawa island and smaller regional islands, affecting 619 passengers.

"Although we conduct regular or unannounced safety inspections for airlines, detailed drinking regulations are left to the discretion of each company", said an official at the transport ministry's aviation safety and security department.

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