Pilot found 10 times over alcohol limit just before flight

Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines

London's Metropolitan Police force say Katsutoshi Jitsukawa appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court in west London on Thursday and admitted to exceeding the alcohol limit.

Japan Airlines Co. apologized Thursday after one of its co-pilots was arrested in London for failing an alcohol test before departing on a London-Tokyo flight. He had been scheduled to serve on a flight to Tokyo, which took off just over an hour late.

A test later revealed that Jitsukawa had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, almost 10 times the U.K.'s legal limit of 20 mg for pilots, according to the BBC.

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. He is now in custody and will be sentenced on November 29 at the Isleworth Crown Court.

"Safety remains our utmost priority", the airline said in a statement.

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JAL executives told reporters in Japan that the co-pilot cleared an in-house breath test but aroused the suspicion of a bus driver taking him to the plane at Heathrow Airport on Sunday.

According to Japanese media, the airline has claimed the co-pilot drank two bottles of wine, three bottles of beer and two cans of beer on the night before the flight.

Japan Airlines prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol 12 hours before a flight and has now bumped up this rule to 24 hours.

Other incidents of drunkenness among crew members have drawn scrutiny to the industry.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, had nearly 10 times more than the legal permitted amount of alcohol in his bloodstream when he was arrested, the Metropolitan Police said.

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