Japanese pilot admits being drunk 10 times over alcohol limit

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A Japanese pilot has admitted being nearly 10 times over the alcohol limit shortly before a flight from Heathrow Airport, police said today.

But apparently, this Japan Airlines pilot did not have any idea about how serious his job was.

Tests found the 42-year-old first officer recorded 0.18 blood-alcohol reading, nearly 10 times the legal limit for a pilot and four times the amount for driving.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that Jitsukawa pleaded guilty yesterday to exceeding the alcohol limit at Uxbridge magistrates' court.

The driver of the crew bus smelt alcohol on his breath and thankfully alerted the police right before take-off.

The airline said Thursday that Jitsukawa, 42, had been arrested by British police for being about 10 times over the legal limit set under the U.K.'s aviation law after he drank two bottles of wine and more than 1.8 liters of beer over a period of six hours from 6 p.m. Saturday, the night before Sunday's flight.

The co-pilot will be sentenced on November 29, according to a United Kingdom court official.

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A British Airways pilot was jailed for eight months in June after he was caught more than four times the alcohol limit on duty.

"We are certain (the in-house breath test) wasn't conducted properly", Muneaki Kitahara, Japan Airlines' head of communications, told a press conference.

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.

Airlines have their own regulations, with JAL saying its rules banned pilots from drinking 12 hours before flying - a limit they now said would be pushed back to 24 hours.

The last-minute sickie forced the airline to delay five flights linking Okinawa island and smaller regional islands, affecting 619 passengers. Before boarding the bus, the copilot and the two captains took a company-administered breath test at JAL's Heathrow office.

The Transport Ministry has been requiring airlines to take measures to prevent alcohol-related incidents.