Japan Airlines has apologised after one of its co-pilots was arrested after failing a breath test before a London to Tokyo flight on Sunday.
Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was arrested by UK police at Heathrow airport for violating British aviation law, the airline said in a press release. British police made the co-pilot take a blood test to confirm the results.
Despite passing a breath test at the company’s office in Heathrow, the crew bus driver smelt alcohol on Jitsukawa and reported it to the airport’s security personnel who contacted local police.
Jitsukawa pleaded guilty on Thursday to being 10 times over the legal blood alcohol limit for a pilot, said police.
The co-pilot had 189 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system. The limit for pilots in the UK is 20 milligrams.
He will be detained until his sentence on November 29.
The Japanese airline said the flight was delayed by more than an hour as a result and had to be operated by only two pilots.
This incident comes after another Japanese carrier had to apologise after one of its pilots called in sick after a night out drinking, causing five domestic flights to be delayed.
Japan Airlines prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol 12 hours before a flight and has now bumped up this rule to 24 hours. They will also involve airport staff in alcohol checks along with the flight crew.