Drunk Japan Airlines pilot causes Dallas-Tokyo flight cancellation after police warning in US

A Japan Airlines flight from Dallas to Tokyo was cancelled after a captain got drunk at a hotel bar and received a warning from police, according to Japanese media.

The Mainichi newspaper, which cited a statement from Japan Airlines, reported that the captain dined in Dallas last week with other crew members.

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According to the outlet, the airline said he then continued to drink throughout the evening in the hotel lounge where the crew were staying and, later, in his hotel room.

At around 2am on Tuesday last week, a hotel employee asked the group to be quiet, but the pilot’s disorderly conduct prompted a call to the police, the Mainichi reported.

According to statements provided by the airline, police questioned the man and warned him not to cause any further problems.

The newspaper said the airline’s decision to cancel the flight stemmed from the need to assess the captain’s physical and mental well-being.

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Japan Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Japan Airlines told the Mainichi it could not find a replacement pilot in time for the Wednesday morning departure.

Data from the flight-tracking website FlightAware shows that the flight, due to depart at 11:05am local time on Wednesday, was cancelled.

Japan Airlines helped to transfer the 157 passengers who were supposed to be on board onto alternative flights, the Mainichi reported.

A pilot’s ability to fly a plane is significantly impaired by alcohol use, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration. Photo: Shutterstock

Although a relatively rare occurrence, there have been several recent incidents of pilots reporting for duty under the influence.

In March, a Delta Air Lines captain admitted to turning up for a flight while over the legal alcohol limit.

He was arrested after failing a breathalyser test in June last year, and was later sentenced to 10 months in prison.

In 2023, a United Airlines pilot who showed up to work under the influence was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence by a French court.

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Le Parisien reported that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.132 per cent, more than six times the legal limit for pilots in Europe and three times the Federal Aviation Administration’s limit.

According to the US Federal Aviation Administration, a pilot’s ability to fly a plane is significantly impaired by alcohol use.

It said that the number of serious errors pilots commit dramatically increases at or above concentrations of 0.04 per cent blood alcohol.

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