All ANA pilots to undergo alcohol tests before flights

All Nippon Airways informed the transport ministry Monday that all of its pilots will be forced to take breathalyzer tests before flights, ANA officials said.

The announcement comes in the wake of a Sept. 13 incident in which an intoxicated ANA copilot on the Ho Chi Minh City-Tokyo route caused his flight to be delayed for almost seven hours.

The step is part of a set of policies ANA has prepared to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.

The measures include equipping ANA branches at all domestic and overseas airports with breathalyzer devices by mid-October.

Previously, ANA had alcohol test kits at major airports but checks were not compulsory, according to the company.

ANA said it will distribute pamphlets on the effects of alcohol consumption in a bid to raise staff awareness.

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, which received a report on the incident from ANA, gave the carrier a serious warning and told it to take steps to prevent a recurrence, ministry officials said.

The copilot of ANA Flight 932 bound for Narita airport consumed alcohol six hours before takeoff, violating a company regulation that forbids drinking by flight crews 12 hours before departure.

The flight was delayed for six hours and 50 minutes because no substitute copilot was available.