Flight attendants in Japan face the same strict rules on alcohol consumption as pilots after airlines have been hit by a series of alcohol-related incidents.
Japan’s Ministry for Land, Infrastructure, and Tourism said Tuesday that flight attendants would be prohibited from drinking booze within eight hours of flying.
They could also face further mandatory breath testing while on duty and would be relieved of duty even if a low level of alcohol was detected, Kyodo News reported.
Mandatory breath testing will also apply to engineers inspecting planes before departure and flight operations managers.
Japan Airlines last year announced it would introduce new breathalyzer systems at overseas airports after one of its pilots was arrested in October at Heathrow Airport for being nine times over the legal limit.
The pilot had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.189 when the legal limit for a pilot in the UK is 0.02. He was jailed for 10 months.
At that stage, there had been 19 cases since August 2017 where Japan Airlines pilots had failed the company’s alcohol tests.
The new breathalyzers were accompanied at JAL by provisional rules preventing pilots from drinking 24 hours before flying.
Competitor All Nippon Airways also introduced new, more accurate breathalyzers.
Pilots had been previously prohibited from drinking eight hours before a flight but the rules had not been enforced by airlines. There was also no regulation that set a legal limit on blood alcohol level.
An expert panel was set up after the incident to address the issue and look at policies in other countries.