Business / Corporate

Co-pilot with All Nippon Airways unit found to be over alcohol limit, delaying another flight

Kyodo

All Nippon Airways Co. said Friday an international flight run by a group company was delayed the same day after a breath test showed the co-pilot had a higher than permissible alcohol level.

The co-pilot from Air Japan Co. had drunk more than 10 330-ml cans of beer and two glasses of white wine at his home and at a bar on Wednesday night, plus a bottle of red wine on Thursday morning, before his Friday flight at 12:55 a.m.

ANA and Air Japan are subsidiaries of ANA Holdings Inc.

The co-pilot, in his 40s, was replaced by another pilot, causing the flight from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to Hong Kong to be delayed by 9 minutes, ANA said.

The incident comes after the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry warned Air Japan to improve alcohol checks after another pilot for the airline was found over the limit last month.

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

He had consumed between two and three times the company’s limit, which is equivalent to two midsize bottles of beer, or about a liter.

ANA also prohibits drinking 12 hours prior to flying.

The Japanese airline industry has been hit by a series of incidents involving drinking by flight crews, prompting the ministry to urge carriers to review their rules and introduce mandatory alcohol tests for pilots.

“We were not able to prevent a similar incident from occurring and we take it very seriously,” ANA said.

ANA and its rival, Japan Airlines, have pledged to administer more stringent alcohol tests to pilots and use new testing equipment in response to the recent incidents.

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