Japanese airline bosses take pay cut after drunk pilot jailed


The jailing of a Japanese pilot for being more than 10 times over the alcohol limit as he prepared to fly a passenger jet from Heathrow has hit airline bosses in their pockets.

Japan Airlines president Yuji Akasaka will take a 20% reduction for three months, after the “very intoxicated” first officer Katsutoshi Jitsukawa was sentenced on Thursday.

A senior managing executive officer, Toshinori Shin, will see his pay packet cut by 10% over the same period from December, the airline said.

The 42-year-old pilot was caught by security staff smelling of alcohol and acting drunk as he was set for take-off on the flight to Tokyo on October 28.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa
Katsutoshi Jitsukawa

A preliminary breathalyser test found him to be more than 10 times the 9mg legal limit for flying and he pleaded guilty to performing an aviation function while impaired through alcohol.

Jitsukawa was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court to 10 months’ imprisonment after apologising for the “shame” he brought on the airline, as his lawyer said he had been abusing alcohol to deal with the challenges of being a pilot.

Judge Phillip Matthews warned the consequences for passengers could have been “catastrophic” if the co-pilot had taken charge of the 7pm flight.

Unlike in the UK, it is not rare for Japanese executives to take pay cuts after a scandal.

Nissan’s bosses last year returned part of their salaries in acts of contrition over illegal inspections at its factories.