Japan Airlines has been in the news over one of their pilots, who was caught trying to board a flight from London to Tokyo nearly 10x over the legal blood alcohol limit for pilots. Just this past week the pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail in the UK.
Obviously he was being incredibly reckless, and it’s a shame none of his colleagues tried to step in, told him to call in sick, etc. He explained that while he always wanted to be a pilot, he grew to be depressed and struggled to cope with the realities of constant longhaul travel, and alcohol was how he “self-medicated.”
Following this story, it looks like Japan Airlines management is taking action, and not the kind of action you might expect (well, it’s Japan, so maybe this is exactly what you’d expect).
It’s being reported that Japan Airlines’ president will be taking a 20% pay cut for a period of three months, while a senior managing executive officer will be taking a 10% pay cut over the same period.
Japan is obviously a country that’s both shame and pride-driven, and that comes in many forms. If Air India executives took a salary reduction every time a pilot was caught drunk, they’d be paying to work there. 😉
This isn’t the first time Japan Airlines management has done something like this. For example, nearly a decade ago when Japan Airlines was in a horrible financial situation, the CEO was known to take a city bus to work every day. At one point he also reduced his salary to about $90,000 per year.
Obviously I have huge respect for an airline president who shares the sacrifice when an airline isn’t doing well. That’s highly admirable, and something that so many US executives could learn from.
I don’t quite think a single pilot being caught drunk once falls in the same boat (that could happen at any airline), but again, this is Japan, so…
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)