Colombo Telegraph

RTI: SriLankan Airlines Pilots Guild Seeks Information Regarding Airlines’ Downward Spiral

Taking advantage of the country’s Right to Information Act, the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka have written to SriLankan Airlines Information Officer Shiara Sellamuttu seeking full disclosure to several information pertaining to the salaries of CEO Suren Ratwatte, Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawla, Chief Commercial Officer Siva Ramachandran, besides information on the botched Pakistan International Airline wet lease deal and the cost incurred to train CEO Ratwatte to fly the Airbus 320 aircraft.

Sellamuttu in her reply to the Pilots Guild letter dated the 29th of June 2017 confirmed a day later that the requested information will be furnished in 14 days’ time.Management Pilots During Better Times – Capt. Pujith Jayakody, Capt. Renuke Senanayake, Head of Flight Operations Capt. Rajind Ranatunga and CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte

Meanwhile Chairman Ajith Dias, who had earlier ordered the airline’s Crew Rostering Department be brought under the Human Resources Department effective the 1st of July 2017, reversed his decision after a meeting that was held last Tuesday between the Head of Flight Operations Capt. Rajind Ranatunga and the airline’s Senior Management Team. This was after the airline’s Board of Directors and Chairman Ajith Dias decided to virtually gift CEO Ratwatte a flying scholarship to follow a full Airbus 320 conversion course which cost the tax payer around US $ 50,000.

Chairman Dias’ feeble attempt in making this change initially was exposed when CEO Ratwatte’s Ground School and Simulator Training was found to be rigged by Instructor Pilots handpicked to specifically conduct his training. Besides Captains Pujitha Jayakody Jnr and Rakhita Wijeratne visiting the office of the CEO at the World Trade Center to conduct personal classes in his plush office, Simulator Instructor Pilot Capt. Mohan Pragasam’s failure to document the ‘tail strike’ CEO Ratwatte was involved in during his training caused serious safety concerns. SriLankan Airline’s management pilots specifically offer contracts to medically condemned and pilots well over the retirement age to conduct Ground, Simulator and Flying classes as instructors and examiners and use them to their advantage. Not wanting to compromise their sole source of income, management pilots are then easily passed despite causing serious errors at times with a mild slap on their wrists. This was exposed by Colombo Telegraph after the CEO’s Secretary contacted the airline’s Crew Scheduling Manager Nalaka de Zoysa who ordered that the scheduled Line Flying Instructor Capt. Amjath Murad Shafeek be replaced by Capt. Ranga Amadoru who CEO Ratwatte had also handpicked to have him cleared to fly the A320 aircraft. It was later revealed that CEO Ratwatte was reluctant in flying with Instructor Pilot Capt. Amjath Murad Shafeek, a no nonsense check pilot who would even fail the CEO if his check flight was below par.

After Colombo Telegraph’s expose, CEO Ratwatte subsequently requested for annual leave midway through his training, stating he was stressed and wished to visit Melbourne Australia in order to spend time with his family. However it was noted that the CEO’s request was made after he was informed that he had been re-scheduled to complete two Line Flying Checks with Capt. Amjath Murad Shafeek on the 9th of July 2017 to Trichy and 12th of July 2017 to Trivandrum.

In other news reaching Colombo Telegraph through reliable sources it has been highlighted that Capt. Pujitha Jayakody the ‘shoplifter’ wanted in connection for theft in Singapore, has now refused to comply with two rostered duties scheduled to fly to the Lion City.

Capt. Jayakody is reported to have swapped one of those duties with a fellow pilot and has reported sick for his second scheduled duty.

Capt. Jayakody during his absorption into the national carrier with the merge of Mihin Lanka last year, had given Chairman Dias his assurance that he was in the clear to fly into Singapore. In a submitted letter addressed to Chairman Dias he had stated that there was no imminent threat or warrant issued for his arrest into Singapore.

However Colombo Telegraph has now contacted government authorities in Singapore and is awaiting confirmation on the clarity pertaining to this incident.

Meanwhile three First Officers of SriLankan Airlines visiting Barristas the famous coffee shop chain partly owned by Chairman Ajith Dias and SriLankan cricketer Aravinda De Silva had been privy to witnessing CEO Ratwatte engrossed in conversation with the now sacked pilot Capt. Sujith Jayasekara.
Colombo Telegraph also earlier reported as to how CEO Ratwatte singled out Capt. Jayasekara and threatened him besides using the ‘fuck’ word several time and threatened his pilot cadre.

On investigating this meeting between the CEO and the sacked pilot further it was highlighted that CEO Ratwatte had requested Capt. Jayasekara to drop his filed case against the airline due to his unfair dismissal for an undisclosed sum of money. This was as it is confirmed that Capt. Jaysekara is due to be re-instated into his flying job due to the timely intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena after the Board of Directors and the CEO had made a mockery into his alleged refusal to complete a breathalyzer test prior to his departure to Bangkok in August 2016. The airline having permitted Capt. Jayasekara to continue with the operation of the flight despite the breathalyzer refusal, then flew him and his First Officer down to Colombo and charged them for their refusal to comply with the pre-flight breathalyzer procedure.

Fighting his case, Capt. Jayasekara went on to prove as to how the airline was then conducting a flawed breathalyzer procedure, besides highlighting how the Management of SriLankan Airlines manipulated this entire incident to have him terminated on falsified evidence. (Chamindri Karannagoda)

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