A JAPAN AIRLINES pilot who was arrested shortly before take-off at Heathrow Airport in London was almost ten times over the legal alcohol limit, it has emerged.
The co-pilot had been due to fly to Tokyo Haneda Airport on Sunday when his demeanour aroused the suspicions of a bus driver taking him to his plane at Heathrow.
The first officer, identified as 42-year-old Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, was arrested after a breath test indicated he was in breach of UK aviation laws.
Officers carried out a blood test following the arrest which confirmed he was around nine times over the limit.
According to police, Jitsukawa was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - whereas the legal limit for pilots is only 20mg, compared to 80mg for drivers.
The Japan Airlines plane was delayed and took off 69 minutes after its scheduled departure from London.
In a statement, the airline said: "The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee's actions.
"The company does not condone the individual's actions and takes this violation seriously, as safety remains our utmost priority.
"We will implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence and to regain our customer`s trust."
The incident came just a day after another Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways, confirmed that a hungover pilot had caused multiple flight delays.
According to reports in Japan, the co-pilot arrested on Sunday had consumed two bottles of wine, three bottles of beer and two cans of beer the night before his flight.
Speaking to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Japan's transport minister said the government would look into toughening regulations on alcohol consumption by pilots in the wake of the incidents.