National

Pilot for ANA subsidiary Air Japan bumped from flight after failing alcohol screening

Kyodo

All Nippon Airways Co. said Saturday that a co-pilot at its Air Japan Co. subsidiary was prevented from flying after testing positive in a preflight alcohol check, the latest in a string of similar incidents among Japanese carriers.

The co-pilot, in his 40s, had planned to fly without telling his company about his alcohol consumption the night before, ANA said.

On Thursday night he consumed between two and three times the limit set by the company, which is equivalent to two medium-sized bottles of beer, or about 1 liter.

But he did not tell the company this when he was asked to fly to Yangon, Myanmar, from Narita airport near Tokyo, on Friday, ANA said. He was not initially scheduled to be working on that flight.

The pilot started drinking vodka at home before 5 p.m. and the company contacted him around 7:40 p.m. to request that he be on the flight. The company prohibits drinking in the 12 hours before a flight, and the pilot said he had not breached this regulation. The flight to Yangon was scheduled for 11 a.m.

He was replaced by another pilot after breath tests before the flight detected 0.25 milligram of alcohol per liter.

The transport ministry on Friday urged another subsidiary of ANA, ANA Wings Co., to improve operations after one of its pilots tested positive in a preflight alcohol check.

The nation’s airline sector has been mired in similar incidents, prompting the ministry to urge airlines to review their alcohol rules and introduce mandatory alcohol tests for pilots.