Pilot Admits to Being Almost 10 Times Over Alcohol Limit Before Takeoff

Daniel Fowler
November 5, 2018

Blood tests conducted a mere 50 minutes before Japan Airlines flight JL44 was scheduled for takeoff confirmed that First Officer Jitsukawa had 189 mg of alcohol per 100 ml blood in his body, with the law capping off the permitted limit at 80 mg.

Japan Airlines co-pilot Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested Sunday after failing a breath test shortly before a London to Tokyo flight and pleaded guilty in court Thursday Nov. 1, to being nearly 10 times over the legal limit for alcohol.

The first officer, identified as 42-year-old Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, was arrested after a breath test indicated he was in breach of United Kingdom aviation laws.

A crew bus driver alerted authorities about smelling alcohol on Jitsukawa's breath.

Japan Airlines apologized for the pilot's actions and said it would take the violations seriously.

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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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.

The limit for drivers in Britain is 80mg. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced November 29 at Isleworth Crown Court. The flight took off more than an hour late.

The almost 12-hour flight from London to Tokyo normally has two captains and a co-pilot.

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

The incident came just a day after All Nippon Airways revealed a hung-over pilot had caused multiple flight delays.

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