Drunk pilot found to be TEN TIMES over the legal alcohol limit ahead of Heathrow flight

drunk pilot heathrow flights japan airlines

Drunk pilot found to be TEN TIMES over the legal alcohol limit ahead of Heathrow flight (Image: Getty Images)

A drunk pilot was found to be 10 times over the legal alcohol limit by police, despite passing the airline’s breathalyser test.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, was only found out when a bus driver a Heathrow airport observed he smelled of alcohol ahead of the flight to Tokyo.

The Japan Airlines pilot  – who had been due to fly a Boeing 777 plane, which holds up to 244 passengers – was reported and arrested at the airport.

Jitsukawa admitted he had consumed more than 1.5 litres of wine and more than 1.8 litres of beer the night before, both in the hotel bar and in his bedroom, reported Japanese broadcaster NHK.

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As a result of the incident, the flight departed an hour late and flew with two pilots rather than three.

When tested for alcohol after suspicions were aroused, police found he had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system.

The legal limit for on-duty is 20mg, making him 10 times over the alcohol limit.

For road drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the drink-drive limit is 80mg.

According to NHK, the first pre-flight test did not detect alcohol on Jitsukawa’s breath.

Japan Airlines officials said they believed the pilot had tampered with the test to hide his drinking.

drunk pilot heathrow flights japan airlines

Japan Airlines: The pilot had drunk more than 1.5 litres of wine and more than 1.8 litres of beer (Image: Getty Images)

Their testing method will now be altered to prevent further fraud, reported NHK.

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

Jitsukawa pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol limit at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, according to a Metropolitan Police spokesperson.

He has been kept in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 29 November.

“The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee’s actions,” Japan Airlines said in the statement.

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drunk pilot heathrow flights japan airlines

Japan Airlines: Police found the pilot had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system (Image: Getty Images)

Express.co.uk has contacted the airline for further comment on the incident.

Following the Japan Airlines incident, Japan’s transport ministry issued a document directed at all Japanese airlines calling for the implementation of measures to control excessive drinking by flight crew.

Each airline will need to submit a report detailing the steps taken by the end of the month.

The incident comes after a pilot for domestic Japanese airline All Nippon Airways was too hungover to work.

Five flights were delayed as a result of the pilot’s sickness from alcohol. He had been drinking until 10pm on 24 October and had to call in ill the next day after realising he wouldn’t be able to fly his 8.10 flight, reported The Japan Times.

The news comes as the UK Home Office is set to launch a review of licensing laws at UK airports and to decide whether to extend high street regulations to airport terminals.

The proposals could see a ban on alcohol sales before 10am, halting early-morning drinking for holidaymakers.

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