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Transport ministry calls 25 airlines to meeting on pilots drinking

9 Comments

Following a series of incidents of Japanese pilots causing problems related to alcohol consumption, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has summoned the presidents of all 25 domestic airlines operating flights within Japan and overseas to discuss preventative measures against alcohol-related incidents.

The meeting on Wednesday was chaired by Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii.

The ministry said there have been 41 incidents among seven airline companies, spanning five years, in which drunken pilots had to be replaced, Fuji TV reported. Finding last-minute replacements caused delays and cancellations of flights.

The ministry said breathalyzers would be supplied to airline companies that currently do not possess any alcohol measuring equipment. Although breath tests are normally administered to pilots who exhibit symptoms of alcohol consumption, the ministry and airline operators discussed the possibility of making this a mandatory procedure before anyone enters the cockpit.

A number of airlines have reassessed their drinking policy to prohibit pilots from consuming any alcoholic beverage 24 hours prior to their scheduled flight (the typical rule is eight hours prior to flying).

In the past two months, JAL, ANA and Skymark have all reported incidents involving pilots drinking just before scheduled flight times.

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9 Comments
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the ministry and airline operators discussed the possibility of making this a mandatory procedure before anyone enters the cockpit. 

This means that nothing will change, wonder which Japanese will suck wind and say, mandatory breathalysers are just not possible!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why not actually legislate and make it illegal for any one working on a plane to be over the influence. You know, like other countries did.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

the ministry and airline operators discussed the possibility of making this a mandatory procedure before anyone enters the cockpit. 

"Possibility"? Are these people insane? Problem, I say fix it. Not form an expert panel. If I drink and drive it's a bigger thing than flying 100s of people 1000s of metres in the air. Are pilots exempted from the 100hrs OT a month? That could also be a starting point cramming 4 weeks of relaxation into 12hrs?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

41 incidents in 5 years is simply mind-boggling, but in fairness I'm sure it's not only pilots here. Also Singapore Air had an incident in September which resulted in complete cancellation of at least 2 flights.

Would it really be so difficult to have a central location in each airport (eg at the crew line at security or immigration area) where each crew member passing through gets breathalized? It literally takes seconds per person.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I stopped in at a pub attached to a municipal airport a couple summers ago with some buddies, the table next to ours was 4 guys just CRUSHING pitchers of beer. All of them were pounding beers.

They squared up their bill, walked out the back door onto the tarmac, hopped in a turboprop airplane (a Pilatus) and fired it up, taxied away and flew off into the afternoon. We could see that the two guys in the cockpit were from inside the pub.

I mentioned to the waitress, "Hey, those dudes just pounded a bunch of beers and then they fired up that plane and burned outta here".

"Oh yeah", she says, "They do it all the time!"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This means that nothing will change, wonder which Japanese will suck wind and say, mandatory breathalysers are just not possible!

Japanese just dont like being embarrassed by gaijin as the arrest of a JAL pilot has shown, unfortunately I think its going to take a crash with loss of life before any meaningful changes are forced through legislation. another case of too little too late in J Inc

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The ministry said breathalyzers would be supplied to airline companies that currently do not possess any alcohol measuring equipment

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Those here who say nothing is going to change are completely wrong. This has everyone’s attention, both in the industry and in the relevant govt. agencies. I cannot say for certain that there will never be another incident, but I can say that their frequency will drop dramatically and the atmosphere that allowed the JAL crew to believe that they could sneak a drunk First Officer on board is a thing of the past.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can see a 1950's advert here... young incredibly beautiful stewardess greeting the Pilots, but when the one smelling strongly of Alcohol approachers her, she backs off waving her hand in front of her face and says something along the lines of "You stink, get off my beautiful plane!" then booting him in the ass off the plane in front of all the astonished passengers, followed by whipping off her fake wig and cravat, revealing a flowing Biggles style scarf and saying "I'm flying this crate from now on!" much to the applause from the passengers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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