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16 JAL flights since April 2017 delayed as pilots fail alcohol tests

21 Comments

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But which is preferable, a pilot that is over the limit or one that in under the limit but is dying for a drink?

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

This is truly disturbing!!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This is going to be blown out of proportion big time. JAL is doing due diligence by checking their pilots and their regulations are quite stringent.

Pilots are humans too! 0.1mg is truly negligible and odds are that there are plenty of people who drink that have at least that much in their systems the day after a night on the town and drive their cars into work.

Also consider this, 1 in 4 Japanese are JAL flight bank members, they fly over 40 million passengers a year on just how many 10's of thousands of flights?

16 total, and only "delayed".

Complainers are just going to complain, nowhere is perfect, glass-houses-stones, kind of thing.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is not a problem limited to Japan. My friend has been flying for a major carrier in the U.S. for decades and says this is a huge problem due to the lifestyle of a pilot. Terrible schedule, marital stress due to travel, due to technology improvements it is now a boring job once you are trained and have hours logged, etc. He has also made comments similar to Hideshima-san at the end of the article....the schedules are more stressful. He has commented often that the most challenging part of his work now is to get up and get to flight operations on time.

At least in these cases the defense mechanism worked! What happened in London is a travesty.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

16 delayed flight over the course of 1.5 years isn't a big problem. Pilots are humans too, it is what it is. Of course bypassing these safety measures even one time are not acceptable.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Tokyo-Engr

I agree with most of what you said, but why was what happened in London a travesty? He was massively over the limit wasn't he?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So, perhaps, just perhaps, there is a big problem with alcohol abuse in Japan. I wonder how many people I will see scoffing down a 500ml can ofsuper-strong chu-hi on their way to work this morning? 5? 6? More?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Is it REALLY disturbing?!

it could be that the same pilot or pilots have caused all the problems !

if they have seniority it would put lots of stress in the junior pilots but not affect safety...t does in an emergency...but not on a routine flight.

it is Japanese culture and this type of problem should have been eradicated after a JAL pilot tried to dive one Tokyo Bay during the 80s. He was certified insane but the junior pilots were afraid to report his increasingly bizarre behavior.

Other examples of this Asian trait are the KAL crashes in Guam and San Francisco.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Raise the limit, problem solved. Not just anybody can fly a commercial plane. They are very skilled and intelligent and need to destress sometimes. They would never fly drunk. Just a quick beer before a long flight is ok if only one. Inflight is not allowed.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

was detected on the breath of the plane's American pilot.

Well I guess it's not just "Japanese" pilots. It's a high stress job that has it's own issues. But since the lives of so many depend on their ability to perform properly I hope the airlines take this very seriously as JAL appears to be.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@miss-oikawa - The reason why what happened in London is a travesty is that the JAL system completely failed to detect the drunk pilot and the stop gap in that case was the bus driver.

I think that is an extreme breakdown of the checks and balances.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Gotcha. Just never seen travesty used in that context before but you're right.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are some professions where you want them to be beyond reproach.Piloting is one of them.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Unless they are Denzel Washington, this is alarming!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hideshima said he feels pilots have been given less time to rest at destinations because of increased flights in response to the growth in the number of foreign visitors to Japan.

"Stress may be encouraging heavy drinking. Just imposing strict rules is not enough. There is a need to give time to rest so that pilots can recover," he said.

I guess it takes too long to hire and train new pilots before increasing flights to respond quickly to demand. I blame the airline companies for creating such a situation. They should have known this was going to happen when government started announcing plans to relax tourist visa requirements for several neighboring countries years ago. They went after profits without increasing costs to match and ensuring they have enough staff to handle it in a humane way. Now their chickens are coming home to roost and starting to inconvenience and endanger the consumer as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow! This is very serious, especially when people's lives are trusted to them and their company. The best of luck to JAL for looking into this. JAL is a great airline.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Time to make it law. After a mere TWO cases people were saying the current system is acceptable, despite other nations having laws that ban pilots from drinking between/before flights. JAL and other Asian Airlines have rules that will not allow their flight attendants to eat anything garlicky or drink much because the smell can cause discomfort to passengers, so it's pretty amazing they Don't do MORE with the people responsible for flying and the safety of all the passengers. Since they won't do it, the government should. Other nations have these laws, and seemingly less problems.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

YubaruToday 06:52 am JST

This is going to be blown out of proportion big time

This should, and not only on Japanese carriers.

You decide to be pilot, you don't drink before a flight, that's all, not open to discussion. You do, you're out of job.

Always pissing me off to hear about crew cheating, skipping those tests because they drunk like crazy the night before.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

would be nice to see the numbers from other airlines to compare if its high or low to the average

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think that Japan likes to be the exception to international rules, laws, comventions.

I was on an airline (not JAL) 26 years ago when the smoking ban had just been enforced. There were Japanese guest crew on board. All of the crew would remind passengers not to smoke. Everybody that is except Japanese nationals. At one airport stop the Japanese guest crew were smoking while chatting to Japanese passengers on board, actually on the plane.

A club mentality even now with a drinking issue.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wish they were as free with the Alcohol to the paying customers as they are to those who fly them.

Anyway what does JAL stand for ?

Just Another Laugh

Japan Alcohol Line

Just About Landing

?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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