Aeroplanes have been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. From tragic crashes, near-miss incidents, to whoppingly long delayed flights, the list of depressing news has been endless. Japan Airlines just added another one that stopped short of an aviation disaster! A pilot, flying an aeroplane after getting drunk, can be fatal. Well, that is exactly what this Japan Airlines pilot tried to do when he was fortunately caught. If he had escaped scrutiny and landed in the pilot’s seat in the plane’s cockpit, surely, it would have had a bad end. The pilot could have put hundreds of passengers lives in danger. Well, in this latest incident, a co-pilot with Japan Airlines was arrested by the British Police just in the nick of time.
And how drunk was he? It transpires that he had consumed as many as 2 wine bottles and over 1.8 ltr of beer! The period? In a span of 6 hours. When? The night before he was supposed to fly the plane! This incident came to light a day after another Japanese airline flight got delayed due to hung-over pilot.
Considering the gravity of the situation and its potential to cause deaths of hundreds of passengers, the airline bosses lined on stage bowed and apologised on Thursday after the arrest of the pilot in London. The apology may be heartfelt, but it puts the entire Japan Airlines procedures under question. How come they were not able to stop such a behavioural anomaly at the beginning itself. Surely, this must not have been the first time?
Wait! The news gets worse!
According to Channel NewsAsia report, the co-pilot cleared the Japan Airlines in-house breath test but aroused the suspicion of a bus driver (yes, you read that right!) taking him to the plane from Heathrow airport on Sunday.
The co-pilot was arrested after a second breath test before takeoff showed that he had consumed “excessive alcohol”. The co-pilot was required to undergo a blood test which confirmed those results, the airline said in a statement. The flight departed London after a 1:09 hour delay.
“The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee’s actions. We are certain (the in-house breath test) wasn’t conducted properly,” Muneaki Kitahara, JAL’s head of communications, was quoted as saying.
Such incidents seem shockingly common! All Nippon Airways too revealed that a hung-over pilot had caused multiple flight delays. After a night of drinking on the remote resort island of Ishigaki in southern Okinawa prefecture, the male pilot in his 40s called in sick, the company said.
Because of this last-minute reporting of sickness, many flights of the airline got delayed linking Okinawa island and smaller regional islands, affecting 619 passengers, the report said.