TOKYO -- All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) announced Jan. 3 that a captain of an affiliated airline tested positive for alcohol in a preflight test and was replaced, delaying five flights by up to about 1.5 hours.
The captain, who is in his 40s, was due to pilot an ANA Wings flight leaving Itami in western Japan at 7:10 a.m., bound for Miyazaki in southern Japan. However, he was found to have an alcohol level topping 0.05 milligrams per liter of breath, ANA said.
The pilot was replaced and the flight left about 17 minutes later than scheduled. But this change disrupted the supply of pilots, causing a delay of 1 hour and 34 minutes for a 10:40 a.m. flight to Okinawa in southern Japan from Itami.
The captain has acknowledged to the company that he drank alcohol with his co-pilot at the hotel where he was staying, but denied breaking the airline group's internal rule of no drinking 12 hours before the flight's departure.
The incident came less than three months after an ANA group pilot was unable to board a flight due to excessive drinking and caused delays in October last year, triggering a severe reprimand from the transportation ministry.
An ANA statement said the company takes the latest incident "seriously" in light of the fact that a series of drinking incidents among pilots and cabin crew at the nation's leading airlines have attracted public criticism and demands for stricter restrictions.
"We will make efforts to prevent a recurrence and restore confidence," the statement said.
(Japanese original by Tomohiro Katahira, City News Department)