Drunk Japanese pilot arrested at Heathrow Airport

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested Sunday at Heathrow Airport for violating British aviation law

Japan will tighten rules for drinking by airplane staff, following the arrest in London of a Japan Airlines Co.co-pilot for failing a breath test shortly before a flight and recent alcohol problems in the aviation industry, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii said Friday.

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

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that police were alerted by the driver of a crew bus who smelled alcohol on the pilot.

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

The flight was delayed by more than an hour.

In a separate incident, it was revealed Wednesday that a captain of an ANA Group company was unable to operate a flight due to the influence of alcohol, resulting in delays to five flights. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 29 November at Isleworth Crown Court.

A spokesman for the London police said a test on the co-pilot taken 50 minutes before the flight's scheduled departure revealed 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system - nearly 10 times the 20-milligram limit for a pilot.

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In an interview conducted by JAL just after his release, the copilot said he consumed more than two bottles of wine and more than 1.8 liters of beer by himself at a bar and in a hotel room where he stayed for about six hours until 20 hours before the flight.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, had nearly 10 times more than the legally permitted amount of alcohol in his bloodstream when he was arrested, CNN quoted the Metropolitan Police as saying on Thursday.

The plane departed London after a delay of 69 minutes.

The drink-drive limit in England is 80 milligrammes.

JAL's company rules prohibit its pilots from drinking alcohol less than 12 hours before flying any planes.

The transport ministry on Thursday issued a document directing all Japanese airlines to report by end of the month measures being taken to control drinking by flight crew.

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