Japanese airline is sorry one of its pilots failed alcohol test

JAL pilot admits being almost 10 times over alcohol limit

JAL pilot admits being almost 10 times over alcohol limit

A Japan Airlines pilot was on Thursday arrested shortly prior to his scheduled flight from London to Tokyo as alcohol in his bloodstream surpassed the legally permitted levels by nearly ten-folds.

JAL said the co-pilot was arrested Sunday for violating British aviation law.

Speaking to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Japan's transport minister said the government would look into toughening regulations on alcohol consumption by pilots in the wake of the incidents. It also announced it would roll out a more sophisticated breathalyzer system to monitor its pilots' alcohol overseas later this month, according to NHK.

British authorities notified JAL that breath and blood tests on the co-pilot found alcohol levels far exceeding the legal limit, the airline said. The legal limit for a pilot is 20 mg.

The flight to Tokyo took off after a 69-minute delay with Jitsukawa not aboard.

The pilot later pleaded guilty before a court to being over the legal limit, and is expected to be sentenced on November 29.

In a statement, the airline said: "The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee's actions".

The male pilot in his 40s called in sick after a night of drinking on the remote resort island of Ishigaki in southern Okinawa prefecture, the company said.

Japan Today reports that the pilot had consumed two bottles of wine and five cans of beer over a six-hour period starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the night before JAL's Flight 44 was set to depart London for Tokyo's Haneda International Airport at 7 p.m.

"We will use all possible means to ensure flight safety", local media quoted him as saying.

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