Pilot arrested '10 times over alcohol limit' at Heathrow Airport

Pilot arrested '10 times over alcohol limit' at Heathrow Airport

He was supposed to pilot the flight JL44 Japan Airlines (JAL) in Tokyo, but failed the test in 50 minutes before departure.

Authorities were first notified about the drunken pilot by the driver of a crew bus, who smelled alcohol on Jitsukawa and reported it.

The airline said the co-pilot was arrested on Sunday at Heathrow Airport for violating British aviation law.

In comments quoted by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the Japanese transport minister has indicated the government will toughen regulations on alcohol consumption by pilots in the wake of the incident.

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.

At the Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Thursday, the co-pilot pleaded guilty to exceeding the legal alcohol limit, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

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The co-pilot, identified as Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, was arrested by British police and required to undergo a blood test that confirmed those results. The legal limit for a pilot is 20 mg.

The plane departed London after a delay of 69 minutes.

He will be detained until his sentence on November 29.

Japan Airlines have issued an apology and pledged to "implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence", adding that "safety remains our utmost priority".

He had reportedly consumed two bottles of wine and more than 1.8 litres of beer over six hours on the night before the flight.

In a separate case last week, Japanese domestic airline All Nippon Airways was forced to apologize after five flights were delayed by a hungover pilot, the Associated Press reports.

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