The International Civil Aviation Organization has written to the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka seeking explanation for flight safety violations caused by Mihin Lanka‘s controversial flights operated to Seychelles.
H.M.C. Nimalasiri Director General of CAA Sri Lanka has forwarded ICAO’s letter to the management of SriLankan Airlines seeking their answers to complete a letter of response.
Mihin Lanka as an airline has been hell bent on operating the flight Colombo / Seychelles / Colombo under the former Head of Flight Operations Capt. Pujitha Jayakody, risking passenger and crew lives when at times the weather has been reported to be below the legal flight operating limits approved by international bodies. Documentary evidence seen by Colombo Telegraph indicates that Mihin Lanka Flights MJ 707/8 operated on 20th June 2015, 25th August 2015, 29th August 2015, 1st September 2015 and 3rd September 2015, were all illegally operated when the weather was below the minimum safety permitted conditions for the flights to depart from Colombo.
It is alleged that the sole purpose of this operation is to transport a special consignment of perishable cargo containing pineapples to Seychelles over the lives of passengers on board.
“Captain Jayakody has shown a special interest in having these pineapples transported. I am not sure if he has any personal gain in this. This is something similar to when during the days of Air Lanka in the late 80’s, his relatives the Jayakody’s of ‘Shirohana” fame – brother in law of late President R. Premadasa – diverted the Colombo’s / Tokyo flight to Fukuoka just to drop of their flowers”, a pilot speaking to Colombo Telegraph said on the condition of anonymity, as he is not permitted to speak to the media.
SriLankan Airlines now manages the country’s budget airline Mihin Lanka, after the former President Mahainda Rajapaksa was defeated.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and SriLankan Airlines have now been hit by severe turbulence , as it was only recently that Mihin Lanka’s experienced pilot and former Manager Flight / Ground Safety Capt. Charles Sirimanne was terminated for exposing the violation these safety guidelines to the airline’s management.
Instead of been applauded for his efforts Capt. Sirimanne was terminated by Capt.Pujitha Jayakody the former Head of Flight Operations Mihin Lanka.
According to documents seen by Colombo Telegraph Capt. Sirimanne’s termination is so complicated that four letters that prematurely ended his service was provided by Mihin Lanka and the airlines Director Human Resources Sunil Peiris stating four different reasons.
The initial letter served by the airline’s Manager Human Resources Piyuma Kandaragama dated 10th September 2015 stated that he was terminated with immediate effect with the airline providing him with three months wages. One letter signed by Director Human Resources Sunil Dayalan Peiris states that his contract has ended on the 21st May 2015, when his contract in actuality was to end on the 10th of June 2017. Another letter sent by Piyuma Kandaragama again by the Manager HR strangely states that his contract ended on the 10th of September 2015 which actually that was the date his service was terminated.
According to the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by Capt.Pujitha Jayakody, he stated that Capt. Sirimanne sabotaged the airline’s operation when he refused to operate his flight Colombo / Seychelles / Colombo.
“Captain Charles Sirimanne rightfully refused to fly that day when the weather was below the minimum safety permitted conditions” said another pilot of the airline.
When Capt. Charles Sirimanne was contacted by Colombo Telegraph he confirmed that he had sent a 42 page document stating all the facts and subsequent violations committed by the airline directly to ICAO and also his subsequent unlawful termination as a last resort.
“I filed a Fundamental Rights case in the Supreme Court seeking relief for my case and re-in statement into my job. The Supreme Court judge however ruled that there are no grounds for a fundamental case. Another pilot Capt.Vinodh De Silva also refused to operate the same flight on the 20th of June 2016, when the flight weather reports indicated that it was below the legal limits. Capt.Pujitha Jayakody then decided to operate the flight himself and subsequently instructed Capt. De Silva to provide explanation for his refusal to operate that flight. However after Capt. De Silva provided his written explanation Capt.Jayakody replied stating that it was unacceptable. But it was only I who was terminated and not Capt. De Silva. The injustice meted out to me is that even the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka nor even my airline did hold an inquiry when I requested for one. They just wanted to get me out for highlighting one of their serious flaws. The seriousness of this issue was similar to what Fly Dubai faced recently when it crashed in Russia killing all on board on the 19th of March 2016. I did not fly that sector as it was an illegal operation. As the captain it is my call on the day. I took all safety precautions into consideration before refusing to endanger the lives of all on board. This is a bad, bad, bad, bad precedence that the airline has now set out with my case. I am shocked that even our CEO and Crew Resource Management (CRM) specialist of Emirates Airline fame Capt. Suren Ratwatte and Head of Operations of both SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka Capt. Rajind Ranatunga did not even order an internal inquiry. They are also experienced pilots and they decided to turn a blind eye. I had so much faith in them. This will be a big deterrent for any pilot now to speak up regarding any safety related matters in future, especially regarding the airline. Pilots would want to now secure their jobs than lose it” Capt.Sirimanne said.
Captain Pujitha Jayakody was clearly heard boasting to the President of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka Capt.Renuke Senanayake as to how he fixed Capt.Charles Sirimanne.
It was at the Royal Thomian big match on the 10th of March 2016 that Capt. Jayakody barged a conversation Capt. Renuke Senanayake was having with a Colombo Telegraph journalist.
“Dekkade api Capt.Charles Sirimanne te weda deepu heti?” meaning “Did you see how we fixed Capt. Charles Sirimanne?” Capt.Jayakody was heard clearly saying to Capt. Senanayake.
His statement confirmed that the role he played in getting Capt.Sirimanne sacked was part of a greater orchestrated plan, when he, Capt.Jayakody emphasized on the word ‘WE’.
All attempts to contact Capt. Jayakody for a comment proved futile.