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

A pilot of an All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) subsidiary lied to investigators when he denied drinking alcohol in violation of in-house rules, and got a co-pilot to back up his story, ANA said Jan. 8.

The airline said it is considering punishing the ANA Wings Co. pilot, who is in his 40s.

Alcohol was detected on the man's breath just before he was scheduled to take charge of a domestic flight Jan. 3.

The pilot drank four glasses of alcohol, including beer, at a grilled meat restaurant until nine and a half hours before starting duty, ANA said. ANA pilots are forbidden to drink alcohol within 12 hours of going on duty.

Five flights were delayed as ANA Wings sought a replacement pilot for the flight departing Osaka Airport for Miyazaki Airport.

The airline said the pilot initially told investigators that he drank two cans of a highball drink with the co-pilot in his hotel room, and then stopped because of the 12-hour requirement to remain dry.

Investigators felt his story didn't add up and determined the pilot had lied after questioning the co-pilot.