Japan Airlines has been issued a stern warning by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) after a series of safety breaches, as regulators flagged a lack of safety “awareness” within the carrier. 

In a notice dated 27 May, the agency lists five serious breaches that date back to November 2023, pointing out that the airline had failed to “take advantage of” lessons learnt from similar incidents. 


Source: Wikimedia Commons

“This could have a major impact on public trust in the safety of air transport,” the Japanese-language notice reads. 

The five incidents listed by the JCAB are on top of a fatal accident involving a JAL Airbus A350-900 which collided with a Japan Coast Guard turboprop at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on 2 January. The accident, which left five coast guard officers dead, remains under investigation. 

The JCAB pointed out several runway incursion events involving JAL: on 5 November 2023, a JAL aircraft crossed the runway at Seattle-Tacoma airport without clearance. 

Then on 6 February, another JAL jet “mistakenly” entered a different taxiway while another aircraft was on final approach. The aircraft also crossed the runway stop line without permission, resulting in the landing aircraft having to make a go-around. 

A similar incident took place on 10 May in Fukuoka, with the JAL aircraft crossing the runway stop line while the aircraft in front was taking off. The incident resulted in an aborted take-off, notes JCAB. 

The agency also found the airline to lack “sufficient” safety awareness in alcohol-related incidents.  

On 24 April, JAL was forced to cancel a flight from Dallas, after a pilot “behaved in an inappropriate manner” due to excessive drinking two days prior.  

JCAB has urged JAL’s top management to “take the lead in reinforcing awareness of aviation safety”, in addition to conducting “comprehensive inspections” of its safety management systems. The airline has until 11 June to respond with a written report on how it intends to improve its safety culture. 

In response to FlightGlobal’s request for comment, JAL states: ”We take the situation of receiving an Administrative Warning due to a series of safety incidents very seriously. While each incident has its own direct cause, the top management believes there are common challenges across all incidents. Every employee is committed to taking the company’s challenges as our own, and working tirelessly to ensure the safety and peace of mind of our passengers.”

Story updated with statement from JAL.