Japanese Pilot Tries To Operate Flight Over Legal Alcohol Limit, Co-Pilot Tries To Cover It Up

Filed Under: ANA

Japan Airlines has been in the news recently over some alcohol related incidents for their crew members.

The first major incident involved a Japan Airlines pilot who attempted to pilot a flight from London to Tokyo while ten times over the legal alcohol limit for pilots. He ended up being jailed in the UK for 10 months.

Given Japanese work culture, this is something that was taken very seriously, and the president of Japan Airlines took a temporary 20% pay cut as a result of this.

Then there was another incident in the news, this time of a Japan Airlines flight attendant who allegedly drank during a flight. Apparently there are no laws in place in Japan as to flight attendant drinking regulations, though once again this was taken very seriously.

Well, now there’s another alcohol story from a Japanese airline, and in this case it even involves a cover-up.

The Japan Times reports on the results of an internal probe that caused a flight to be delayed significantly last week. This allegedly involved two pilots of ANA Wings, which is a subsidiary of ANA.

The two pilots were scheduled to fly from Osaka to Miyazaki at 7:10AM last Thursday. The airline has a ban on pilots drinking within 12 hours of departure. The night before the flight, the pilots went to a restaurant together where they consumed alcoholic drinks. One pilot stopped drinking at 7PM, while the other pilot only stopped drinking at 9:30PM, nearly 2.5 hours later than he should have.

A breathalyzer given to the pilot before the flight found that he was above the legal limit, meaning they needed a replacement crew. During the probe, both pilots initially said that they only drank until 7PM the night before, but it later became clear that this was simply because one pilot asked his colleague to cover-up the situation.

It’s not entirely clear what the pilot’s blood alcohol level was. Unlike the Japan Airlines pilot departing London, this guy may not have actually been “drunk,” but was rather just over the limit for pilots.

I get pilots deal with a lot of stress, and I feel bad for the situations they sometimes get into. At the same time, they have important jobs and are responsible for lots of peoples’ lives, so these situations have to be taken seriously.

So not only is it unfortunate that one of the pilots chose to drink later than he should have, but I find it equally disturbing (if not more disturbing) that the other pilot tried to cover-up for him.

(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)

  1. Drinking is pervasive in many cultures, but having spent many years living and working in Japan, I found it to be be much more ingrained in daily life there – and not just drinking per se, but getting very drunk – than in anywhere else I’ve lived on three continents. The number of salarymen asleep in the subway or JR stations at 4/5 am on a Saturday morning after some nomihodai (all you can drink) after work on Friday can be staggering to the uninitiated. While this saddens me, this news is not particularly surprising.

  2. When the punishment is harsh enough, these pilots will obey the rule and stop drinking at the appropriate time. It’s really not that hard…drink soda instead or some non alcoholic beer. If you can’t obey the rule, don’t be a pilot. It’s really simple.

  3. Came here for Debit’s commentary, not disappointed.

    When all is said and done, hungover pilots barely sounds better than drunk. Just lay off the loopy juice while working, it’s not hard for most. If they have a legit problem, they need to get help. Alcohol’s not a great way to deal with stress anyways.

  4. ” this guy may not have actually been “drunk,” but was rather just over the limit for pilots.” He doesn’t need to be falling down drunk. If his judgement is impaired it can lead to the death of everyone on that plane. There is a reason why the limit is what it is.

  5. @debit you know absolutely nothing about the people in the catholic church if you make a comment like that-in every organization bad things happen

  6. “@debit you know absolutely nothing about the people in the catholic church if you make a comment like that-in every organization bad things happen”

    You been living under a rock? The catholic church is ripe with pedophiles.

    On a sobering note, I lived in Japan for a few years and alcohol is ingrained like I have never before seen in any of my travels. Hell, the street I lived on had a beer vending machine. Do not let this flaw your outlook on the country, as I have yet to spend time in another country that is amazing as Japan. Where I lived the police did not even carry guns.

  7. @ Kevin
    “When the punishment is harsh enough … [they] will obey the rule”

    I don’t think you have *any* understanding of human nature. Most of us simply don’t work like that.

    Consider cultures where the punishment for adultery is stoning to death – you can’t have a harsher punishment, yet some people still commit adultery.

    This ain’t about punishment: it’s about developing a corporate culture where it’s everyone’s business to help their colleagues to conform to the requirements (and to report any time they think someone hasn’t, rather than leaving it to random bus drivers).

  8. @ben well, it was ANA’s subsidiary, so the closest image they could find in their database was prob from the mother company, so not entirely off base. chill.

  9. you need to change the photo – that and the headline together make it look like the issue was with ANA. all japanese airlines aren’t one.

  10. @Xavier
    Don’t blame @Debit. Remember God created @Debit for a reason. God made Trump the President of a reason. God made his clergy seducing young boys for a reason.

    Even Xenu isn’t that sick. Maybe this is a good time to bring the e-meter to measure the Bishop’s Thetan every Sunday.

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