Pilot arrested after he was caught smelling of booze 50 minutes before he was scheduled to fly

A Heathrow airport pilot has been arrested at the airport after failing a breath test just 50 minutes before he was scheduled to fly 244 passengers.

Japanese pilot, Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, has admitted being almost 10 times over the alcohol limit shortly before a flight from Heathrow Airport, police said. He was due to fly Japan Airlines (JAL) flight JL44 from London to Tokyo but a member of staff smelt booze on his breath and he was tested.

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

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Jitsukawa pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol limit at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Tests revealed he had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system, almost 10 times the 20mg limit for a pilot. The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg.

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on November 29.

JAL issued an apology and pledged to "implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence", adding that "safety remains our utmost priority".

The flight eventually departed after a 69-minute delay.
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