Japan’s Two Biggest Airlines Admit Airport Workers Cheated In Exams Amid Scrutiny Over Recent Air Mishaps: REPORT

(Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
Font Size:

Japan’s two biggest and rival airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), admitted that some of their staff had cheated in their written driving license examinations that the airlines’ subsidiaries conducted, according to multiple reports.

JAL found, through an internal investigation prompted by an employee’s report, that 11 of its baggage car and catering vehicle drivers cheated in exams conducted between May 2022 and January 2024, according to a company statement, The Japan Times reported. JAL reportedly alerted the transport ministry and the civil aviation bureau, turned over the suspected cheaters’ permits to officials and ceased to conduct online tests.

The 11 employees “engaged in the malpractice of answering questions while looking at textbooks,” which was “a compliance violation and a serious act that can threaten to undermine the flight safety,” JAL said through their statement, the Inquirer Business reported. Five test supervisors were also reportedly found culpable in the misconduct.

ANA said 78 of its drivers cheated between August 2022 and February 2024, according to The Japan Times. The test supervisors had mistakenly assured the drivers they were permitted to consult textbooks during the test, the Asahi Shimbun reported. The airline, Japan’s biggest, retained the workers who resat the test under “appropriate circumstances” and promised to conduct future exams appropriately, The Japan Times reported. (RELATED: Crack Found On Cockpit Window Forces Boeing 737 To Return To Airport)

Japan’s aviation industry came under scrutiny following two air mishaps early in 2024. A JAL commercial flight with 379 passengers on board collided Jan. 2 with a Japanese Coast Guard plane bearing relief materials for the New Year’s Day earthquake survivors, killing five of the six Coast Guard plane crew and leaving the JAL airplane in flames, Reuters reported. All the 379 passengers, however, reportedly survived.

The commercial aircraft “did not experience any issues or irregularities” both during takeoff and all through the flight, but its “announcement system malfunctioned during the evacuation, so cabin crew members conducted instructions using a megaphone and their voices,” JAL said in its final report on the crash.

The incident occurred at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, the JAL and ANA drivers suspected of cheating had worked, according to Bloomberg, republished by The Edge Malaysia.

Two weeks after the first incident, the left wing of a Korean Air Lines airplane carrying 289 people and preparing for takeoff clipped a stationary and empty Cathay Pacific Airways plane’s right tail wing at New Chitose Airport Jan 16, Sky News reported. No deaths were reported, according to the outlet.

A JAL aircraft conducted four domestic flights in Sept. 2023 without final preflight maintenance checks, Japan‘s transport ministry said in Dec. 2023, Kyodo News reported.