DRUNK PI­LOT JAILED AF­TER HEATHROW AR­REST

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Front Page - By QASIM PERACHA [email protected]­plc.com @qasim­per­acha

A JA­PAN Air­lines pi­lot who was drunk when he was ar­rested just be­fore he was due to fly out from Heathrow Air­port has been jailed.

Kat­su­toshi Jit­sukawa was ar­rested on Oc­to­ber 28 at Heathrow and found to be more than nine times over the le­gal blood al­co­hol limit, just 50 min­utes be­fore Ja­pan Air­lines flight JL44 to Tokyo was due to take off with him in the cock­pit.

The 42-year-old Ja­panese na­tional was ar­rested and charged with per­form­ing an avi­a­tion func­tion with al­co­hol in his blood ex­ceed­ing the pre­scribed le­gal limit, which he pleaded guilty to at Uxbridge Mag­is­trates’ Court on Novem­ber 1.

Jit­sukawa “dis­played to­tal dis­re­gard for the safety of all the pas­sen­gers and staff on his flight”, In­spec­tor Iain Goble of Avi­a­tion Polic­ing said.

Ja­panese broad­caster NHK re­ported that the driver of a crew bus alerted po­lice af­ter smelling al­co­hol on the pi­lot.

Se­cu­rity staff at the air­port have been thanked for their re­sponse to Jit­sukawa’s be­hav­iour, which could have been “cat­a­strophic”.

His blood test showed that he had 189 mil­ligrams of al­co­hol per 100 millil­itres of blood, while the le­gal limit in the Rail­way and Trans­port Safety Act is just 20 mil­ligrams per 100 millil­itres of blood.

In Eng­land and Wales, the le­gal al­co­hol limit to be able to drive is 80 mil­ligrams per 100 millil­itres of blood. Jit­sukawa was sen­tenced on Thurs­day Novem­ber 29 at Isle­worth Crown Court to 10 months im­pris­on­ment.

Ja­pan Air­lines is­sued an apol­ogy af­ter the in­ci­dent and pledged to “im­ple­ment im­me­di­ate ac­tions to pre­vent any fu­ture oc­cur­rence”, adding that “safety re­mains our ut­most pri­or­ity”.

In­spec­tor Goble said: “This is an in­cred­i­bly se­ri­ous of­fence as Jit­sukawa, a mem­ber of the air­line crew, had re­spon­si­bil­ity for per­form­ing a crit­i­cal role. This con­vic­tion re­flects he dis­played not only to­tal dis­re­gard for the safety of all the pas­sen­gers and staff on his flight, but also the wider pub­lic.

“Clearly, the con­se­quences could po­ten­tially have been cat­a­strophic had se­cu­rity staff and po­lice not in­ter­vened and he had con­tin­ued to per­form his role on the air­craft in the state he was.

“I would like to praise the se­cu­rity staff who acted quickly and pro­fes­sion­ally upon sus­pect­ing that Jit­sukawa was not fit to fly and alerted po­lice.”

Clearly the con­se­quences could po­ten­tially have been cat­a­strophic In­spec­tor Iain Goble

PHO­TOS: METROPOLI­TAN PO­LICE

Kat­su­toshi Jit­sukawa was sched­uled to fly out of Heathrow Air­port on Oc­to­ber 28 but was ar­rested

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