• Kyodo


The transport ministry will issue a second business improvement order against Japan Airlines Co. after a series of drinking incidents involving its pilots, ministry sources said Tuesday.

It is rare for the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry to reprimand a company twice.

The first order was issued in December after a JAL co-pilot was convicted the previous month in the U.K. for being about 10 times over the country’s legal alcohol limit prior to a London-Tokyo flight.

The incident caused a flight delay and the pilot has since been dismissed.

“We will continue to strictly supervise (the airline) to ensure safe flying conditions are maintained,” transport minister Kazuyoshi Akaba told reporters.

JAL had tightened its drinking policy by using more precise equipment in its breath tests and by having the tests observed by third-party supervisors.

Nevertheless, problems have continued, with alcohol detected in the system of a pilot on a Shanghai-Tokyo flight in April and similar incidents involving crew on domestic flights reported in subsequent months.

Four other airlines were warned by the ministry last December over issues involving excessive drinking by pilots.

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