TOKYO - Japan's transport ministry issued a second business improvement order on Tuesday against Japan Airlines Co. over a series of drinking incidents involving its pilots, despite an initial reprimand issued last December.
It is the first time that an air carrier has received such a reprimand twice over the same problem, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.
"We recognize that this is an extremely serious and critical situation. We are unflinching in our determination to prevent similar incidents," JAL President Yuji Akasaka told reporters after receiving the order.
According to the company, all 42 executives will have their salary cut to take responsibility for the incidents, including a 40 percent reduction for Akasaka from October to December.
The first order was issued after a JAL co-pilot was convicted in Britain last November for being around 10 times over the country's legal alcohol limit prior to a London-Tokyo flight the previous month.
The incident caused a flight delay and the pilot has since been dismissed.
"We will continue to strictly supervise (the airline) to ensure safe flying conditions are maintained," transport minister Kazuyoshi Akaba told reporters earlier in the day.
JAL had tightened its drinking policy by using more precise equipment in its breath tests, and having the tests observed by third-party supervisors.
Nevertheless, problems continued, with alcohol detected in the system of a pilot on a Shanghai-Tokyo flight in April, and similar incidents involving crew on domestic flights reported in subsequent months.
The ministry gave the second order as it judged the company's in-house training on alcohol consumption insufficient. It is calling for more involvement by management in the program, which has been conducted only among pilots.
Last December, four other airlines were warned by the ministry over issues involving excessive drinking by their pilots.