London: A Japan Airlines pilot was on Thursday arrested shortly prior to his scheduled flight from London to Tokyo as alcohol in his bloodstream surpassed the legally permitted levels by almost ten-folds.
42-year-old Katsutoshi Jitsukawa pleaded guilty to the offence at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, CNN reported citing UK Press Association reports.
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.
Jitsukawa was apprehended as a crew bus driver caught whiffs of alcohol and informed the police, CNN cited Japanese broadcaster NHK as confirming. He confessed he drank two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before his flight.
The pilot was due to fly a Boeing 777 aircraft, which can accommodate 244 flyers. He is currently in custody and will be sentenced on November 29 at the Isleworth Crown Court.
Japan Airlines issued a statement of apology, saying “safety remains our utmost priority” and that they will “implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrences.”
After over an hour’s delay, the flight departed under the charge of the two remaining pilots.