Transport ministry calls 25 airlines to meeting on pilots drinking

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 Skylark have all reported incidents involving pilots drinking just before scheduled flight times.

© Japan Today
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