• Kyodo

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An internal probe at Japan Airlines Co. has concluded that a female flight attendant who tested positive for alcohol last week had consumed alcohol while on duty, the airline said Tuesday.

The cabin attendant tested positive in two Breathalyzer tests conducted after a colleague noticed that her breath smelled of alcohol during a Tokyo-Honolulu flight, and she was removed from duty for the remainder of the flight, JAL said.

“An unserved (6 ounce or 200 ml) bottle of Champagne for premium economy was found empty in the galley area,” JAL said in a release, citing that fact as one basis for the conclusion.

The probe also revealed that a total of three crew members had smelled alcohol on her breath, and four reported unusual behavior, while a similar report about her smelling of alcohol was made in November last year.

No alcohol was detected in a pre-flight Breathalyzer test but the two tests aboard the flight recorded 0.15 milligrams and 0.1 mg of alcohol per liter of breath. JAL sets a limit of 0.1 mg per liter for pilots.

President Yuji Akasaka and Eri Abe, the head of the cabin attendants division, will each take a salary deduction for one month, 20 and 10 percent respectively, to take responsibility for the incident, the airline said.

Recently a series of drinking-related incidents have occurred involving JAL. The airline received a business improvement order from the transport ministry last Friday — its first since 2005 — after one of its pilots was convicted in the U.K. for heavy drinking that delayed a London-Tokyo flight.

The airline said on Thursday that another pilot had evaded Breathalyzer tests prior to flights over 100 times since last year. Alcohol tests are currently not mandatory in Japan and the nation’s airlines set their own regulations.

After the recent revelation of drinking-related incidents at JAL and some other Japanese airlines, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has decided to mandate alcohol tests for pilots and set legal limits.

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