A Japanese pilot has admitted being almost 10 times over the alcohol limit shortly before a flight from Heathrow Airport, police said.
Drunk first officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, was arrested at the airport after failing a breath test just 50 minutes before Japan Airlines (JAL) flight JL44 to Tokyo was due to take off with him in the cockpit.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the driver of a crew bus alerted police after smelling alcohol on the pilot.
The flight was operated by a Boeing 777 aircraft which holds up to 244 passengers.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Jitsukawa pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol limit at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Tests revealed he had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system, almost 10 times the 20mg limit for a pilot.
The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg.
He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 29.
JAL issued an apology and pledged to “implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence”, adding that “safety remains our utmost priority”.
The flight departed after a 69-minute delay.
In June an experienced British Airways pilot was jailed for eight months for being caught on duty while more than four times the alcohol limit.
Julian Monaghan drank three double vodkas in his hotel room on an empty stomach before he was due on board a flight from Gatwick Airport to Mauritius on January 18.
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