Photo/IllutrationAn All Nippon Airways Co. plane at Osaka Airport in Itami (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) delayed five domestic flights operated by a subsidiary on Jan. 3 after alcohol was detected on a pilot’s breath.

The delays affected 677 passengers.

The ANA Wings Co. pilot in his 40s was scheduled to fly on a flight departing Osaka Airport in Itami at 7:10 a.m.

But alcohol was detected when the pilot showed up at the airport and took a breath test around 6 a.m. on Jan. 3. He underwent about 10 retests on similar equipment, but all found alcohol on his breath.

The need to find a replacement pilot delayed that flight and the four others.

According to ANA officials, the pilot said he drank two 350-millimeter cans of a shochu-based highball drink around 7 p.m. on Jan. 2.

The co-pilot who was scheduled on the same 7:10 a.m. flight was with the pilot. No alcohol was detected on the breath of the co-pilot, who boarded the plane as scheduled.

The pilot did not violate in-house rules regarding the amount of alcohol consumed that must be reported before boarding a flight or the provision stating that alcohol consumption must end 12 hours before a scheduled flight.

In October last year, a pilot with ANA Wings complained of not feeling well because of excessive alcohol levels, and five flights were delayed because he could not board.

ANA officials said they had begun lending out breath analysis equipment to about 3,000 pilots in the company’s group to allow them to better grasp their alcohol levels, but the ANA Wings pilot had not yet received his equipment.