22 September, 2018

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Sri Lankan Airlines: Annoyed Pilots Kick Guild President Capt. Namal Out!

The now annoyed members of the Pilots Guild of Sri Lankan Airlines ensured that they took matters to their hands and kicked out their existing ‘Pilots Guild’ President Capt. Namal Fernando and his entire committee at an ‘Ordinary General Meeting’ called recently. The Senior Pilots of the national carrier who spoke to Colombo Telegraph said they were ‘miffed’ that the airlines new Chairman Ajit Dias and his newly appointed ‘Board of Directors’ had continued to keep quiet after the national carrier which was probed by the government and exposed in the ‘Weliamuna Report’ had revealed some shocking details about their Flight Operations Head.

The members of Pilots Guild who had called for an OGM then replaced their Guild President Capt.Namal Fernando and handed over the reins to a new committee headed by Capt.Renuka Senanayake, Vice President Capt. Hiran Rajapaksa and Secretary Capt. Anura Abeysekara in the hope that they would run the guild in a more efficient and ethical manner.

SriLankan airlinesIn Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna’s damning report it was highlighted that Chief Operations Officer Capt. Druvi Perera had ordered his former Manager Training and Standards Capt. Patrick Fernando and his deputy Capt. Ranga Amadoru to lower the pass mark in order to recruit two cadet pilots who had failed to make the mark at the cadet pilot intake. Captains Fernando and Amdoru whose immediate resignations in protest of their COO’s request sent the pilots off on a ‘work to rule’ that crippled the airline further, which had to even cancel certain scheduled flights then. “Our COO Capt. Druvi Perera took off to Bahrain for a week to attend a tennis tournament his son was taking part in during a crisis situation the airline was experiencing at the time” said a Pilot. He went on to conclude “COO Capt. Druvi Perera on his arrival to Colombo from Bahrain a week later refused to meet us the Members of the Pilot’s Guild but chose to go directly for third days play of the Royal / Thomian ‘big match’ instead”.
The CCO Capt. Druvi subsequently met with the airline’s Pilots the following day to help resolve the issue.

The ‘Weliamuna Report’ also highlighted the COO Capt. Druvi’s pilot related incident on landing in Chennai where he skidded off the runway, removing the fixed runway lights which he subsequently hushed up before it was brought to light many years later. Weliamuna’s report went on to say that this incident was not even filed in the COO’s personal records.

This incident was exposed by Colombo Telegraph first and was later investigated by the Board of Inquiries who documented the full incident in their final report.

“The manner in which we are been managed at present is rather shocking especially by those who have been politically appointed by the previous regime and who remain still in control” said another Senior Pilot who wished to remain anonymous, as they are barred from speaking to the media.

It is a known fact now that even the current Manager Training and Standards Capt. Upul Samarakoon was in command of the aircraft where he along with COO Capt. Druvi Perera pushed back without obtaining Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance on a VVIP flight with the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on board during the latter part of 2014.

“What shocks many now is that the COO Capt. Druvi Perera’s appointed Manager Flight / Ground Safety Capt. Keminda Yahampath is a professional who has displayed incompetence as a pilot himself from the inception. His intake as a cadet pilot initially was also completed under controversial circumstances when he did not meet the required mark at entry level as a cadet and was rejected by the then Head of Flight Operations(HFO) Capt. Chira Fernando. Capt. Fernando himself resigned from his post in protest after orders from the top had overridden his decision which ordered the cadet Pilot Yahampath to be recruited.” the Senior Pilot said.

As the Head of Flight Operations Capt. Chira Fernando’s hunch about the now Manager Flight / Ground Safety Manager Capt.Yahampath’s competence as a pilot proved to be correct when he eventually ended up dropping the aircraft from a considerable height on his approach and landing into Trivandrum in India which resulted in the bursting of tires of the aircraft. What was more detrimental is that he taxied the aircraft to the parking bay thereafter with deflated tires which could have sparked off a subsequent fire due to the friction it could have caused.

However in another informed incident Capt.Yahampath had nearly run over a Ground Engineer in Colombo when he taxied the aircraft almost immediately after the Ground Engineer had disconnected the Ground Power Unit (GPU). The standard practice is that the Ground Engineer disconnects the GPU and walks away before signaling a ‘thumbs up’ for the Captain to then taxi the aircraft meaning ‘all is clear’. In this instance the shocked Ground Engineer had run for his dear life when Capt.Yahampath violated a Standard Operating Procedure and the main Landing Gear of the aircraft was fast approaching towards him.

“You cannot blame the Pilot Members of the Guild for acting in this manner and their attempt in trying to get their house in order” said a prominent pilot of the airline. “Our COO Capt. Druvi Perera proved to be unsafe on ground as well as in the sky and so has our Manager Flight / Ground Safety Capt. Keminda Yahampath too. Capt.Upul Samarakoon our Manager Training and Standards is also guilty of a violation after his ‘push back’ incident with the COO on board. But they just hang on to their powerful positions in spite of their commonly known incidents” conclude the Senior Pilot.

What will now be interesting is to see is if the Minister of Aviation will go on to get Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna to investigate the national carrier’s Chairman Ajit Dias and his current ‘Board of Directors’ as well as for their reluctance to act upon the BOI’s findings and punish that have now being exposed.

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Latest comments

  • 25
    2

    Dear members of the Pilots Guild of Sri Lankan Airlines,

    “The members of Pilots Guild who had called for an OGM then replaced their Guild President Capt.Namal Fernando and handed over the reins to a new committee headed by Capt.Renuka Senanayake, Vice President Capt. Hiran Rajapaksa and Secretary Capt. Anura Abeysekara in the hope that they would run the guild in a more efficient and ethical manner.”

    Excellent.

    You do it, or we will do it for you.

    Should not the People tell that to the Police and the Bribery Commissioner as well?

  • 23
    2

    Just like there is a standard international language in the airline industry for air traffic commands and instructions, there should also be a standard international test for the pilots. Otherwise, there are countries that are even more corrupt than ourselves, running international airline routes and the world airline safety would be in jeopardy.

  • 12
    1

    Yes, this was coming but it took a L-O-N-G time to finally happen. The ALPG or the Air Line Pilots Guild in any country is well recognised, powerful, United and effective body that serves the pilots. In dear old Sri Lanka it was at times held by those clamouring for managerial posts by ‘sucking up’ and disregarding the interests of its members. Not too long ago, in a bid to stop this practice the elected board decided to introduce a mechanism much against the wishes of a crooked few. They did it but this practice too was overturned by a new committee whose members quickly climbed the ladder in becoming Instructors – by sucking up, all over again ! So the reluctance of the expelled President and his committee to act on behalf of their members is well understood by most. Whether the new folks will do their job or take up to the old tradition is yet to be seen.

    As for the new Chairman, the CEO and their board well perked individuals and their work so far at the airline is concerned one word would summise it, the word is PATHETIC

    Dream on Sri Lankans

  • 15
    1

    The whole trouble in Sri Lanka is that the Chairman of SriLankan is Ranil’s Boys club member and is seen very often at the Lagoon restaurent at the cinnamon grand.

    Why cant appointments be made on merit and capable people who can run Airlines so that things will happen in order.

    See the Board of Directors- all are there for the free flights including Niranjan Deva

  • 4
    2

    I thought the flight in the photo above is Namals.

    • 2
      0

      BTW where are all the “Flying Angels” of Namal Rajapassa? Are they back to base?

  • 7
    0

    If not for the change of Government, what could have happened to this carrier. Grounded?. Even under this regime it seems possible?

  • 12
    1

    It courageous for Pilots to clean up their association in the interests of flying, AirLanka and us, the citizens. Excellent and congratulations to the new office bearers.

    However, it is very disturbing to see the new Chairman and the Board of Directors of AirLanka, the Finance ministry do not seem to be moving on any aspects of the report submitted by the Weliamune committee on various misdeeds by the previous management of Airalanka. We hope they are not going to soft peddle with it and let all those mischief makers to go free.

  • 5
    1

    Setting the trend for “WE THE PEOPLE” to ensure that the right thing is done.

  • 3
    0

    All this is well and good, but will the trade unions of airline personnel explain why the airline should be allowed to continue to lose millions daily, while many Sri Lankans are living below the poverty line.
    There were even reports of demeaning comments about “ayah flights” when poorest of the poor women flew to the middle east for employment.

    Why were there no trade union protests when the Rajapakse regime used the airline as a ‘private carrier’ of the ruling family and their acolytes and even carried irregular cargos like motor spare parts and puppy dogs.

    • 2
      1

      I agree with Justice.

      Why do we still have to have this national carrier that has proven time and again to be nothing but a drainage for money. What the pilots have done this time is well and good but the losses will continue. Any other enterprise that fails to make profit and continue to drain money would have been folded up and closed shop a long time ago. But the gutless politicians of Sri Lanka of all hues keep propping up this utterly useless enterprise.

    • 3
      0

      There were no trade union protests when the Rajapakse regime was in power because there were white vans in the background. No one in his right mind is going to bang his head against a rock.

      There is no point talking about the past. A matter of far greater concern is the lethargy of the current Board of Management of Sri Lankan. The Weliamuna report came out some time ago, but nothing has happened except for the departure of the former CEO Kapila Chandrasena. Why have former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe and the former CEO not yet been questioned by the Financial Crimes unit of the police?

  • 7
    0

    Government departments and state institutions are mismanaged with cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, political interference, racism and all the evils that could destroy any kind of healthy functioning. All the regimes gradually did everything only the wrong way, since the British left our shores.
    Discipline and order is vital for any successful country, organizations or even a home. Unfortunately Lankans just blame the British for every failure they themselves created and now blame the minority race, who live here and work harder than anyone and contributed immensely for their country. Now they are being discriminated, side lined and almost completely avoided due to increasing and fast spreading venomous racism and dirty politics played by filthy power hungry, selfish, idiotic individuals.

    Today, one cannot find a single state institution functioning efficiently, in the proper way or even the governments of the past and the present.
    It’s very difficult to change the mindset and the spoiled attitude of people, who got used to bad governance and corruption for a long time.

    People and politicians alike, talk too much and boast about ancient history of 2500 years and Buddhism, strictly follow all the un-Buddhist things in life, and make the life a misery to them and all.

    Discipline, rule of law and order, equality, merit etc., will definitely help achieve success, but not divisive and racial politics of present day.

    No one seems to have learned anything from the colonial British, who helped Lanka develop, prosper and get a name in the world. Today, we are gradually loosing everything we proudly had, one by one, including the good reputation. Health, wealth, education, discipline,freedom, unity and all in tatters or ..gone and going….!
    We need an unbiased visionary leader and not the kind we already had and have.

  • 5
    0

    Lets be honest about the whole thing. Weliamuna report has highlighted a few issues and they should be looked into.

    But I cannot see anything in the report which identifies the reasons for the loss of Rs 29 bn for 2014 or the loss of Rs 100 bn from 2010 to 2014. Expected loss for 2015 is another Rs 20 bn.

    What is required is a financial investigation as to why the airline suffered massive losses year after year after MARA kicked out Emirates. Where did we go wrong? Is it on pricing?, is it on route network? Is it the type of fleet?, etc etc

  • 5
    0

    I hope the new government would do the right thing by the people and privatize the airline. The mess it’s in, steeped in corruption and plagued with scandal after scandal loosing millions every year , it’s a huge drain on the economy.

  • 3
    5

    In other countries the new head of of a troubled airline will work day and night to put things in order …he he he here he enjoy Tennis..

    People who read this article will think twice to fly with SHAME LANKA AIRLINES giving their lives to these half baked pilots …

    Better shut down this SHAM LANKE AIRLINE…..a real disgrace …

  • 6
    1

    Apart from profit, in present days the safety of passengers is very important. Thank God we do not have any major incidents so far. So many passengers life is in pilots hand and a reliable aircraft. Regular update of capability and mental and physical health of pilots and proper checks on aircrafts and renewing aged aircraft is vital. Passengers have to consider all these factors when choosing which airline they fly. Passengers should not ignore these facts and just board any plane in the future. If we do not maintain these standards we will loose passengers and never make profit. So far srilankan airlines is in best category but I do not fly in srilankan because our army killed unarmed civilians from north srilanka and south India.

  • 4
    0

    pls pls stop arguing and blaming each other and try to improve or go away and let the others improve it its a shame on srilankan airlines to go on like this.

  • 6
    1

    We do NOT have capable PROFESSIONALS with the knowledge of running an airline ANYMORE. Which part of this equation do you chaps not get?

    We have capable Pilots, we have gracious hostesses and hosts, we have very capable engineers and technical staff and we have an award winning kitchen too. All these skills DO NOT make an efficient organization.

    An AIRLINE needs a government to set proper policy first. Mr. Cricket is the Minister and those of us who know him, know that he is not too cerebral with regards to business acumen. Then, there has to be a multi-year strategy based on routes, bilateral agreements, equipment acquisition, training and most critically, capitalisation. Sri Lankan Airlines have not done anything about any of these topics, let alone making a comprehensive plan to incorporate all of them into a viable and implementable strategy.

    The individuals mentioned in the Weliamuna report were enjoying the perks, abusing their authority and stealing on the one hand, and the senior staff were making the best of the opportunities that came their way.

    In the meantime the REAL staff were making do without proper spares, supplies and policies, and the passengers were essentially the ultimate victims.

    We need to understand that management does not happen because someone is given the title manager or CEO. Even the CEO MUST BE SUPERVISED.

  • 4
    1

    Need to handle the situ carefully. Depressed pilots Germanwings cones to mind

  • 1
    10

    Sick Pilots with huge egos. Shame on the Pilot who is writing this bunkum. Must be really jobless. CT shame on you for publishing rubbish. Pilots are not newsworthy. They are glorified drivers.

  • 3
    0

    The Board appointed by RW to Sri Lankan airline is on the same lines as Arjun Mahendran to Central Bank and Ruwan Wijewardena as Defense minister .

    Mahendran the big time self-promoter quickly saw an opportunity and made a windfall profit through his very dubious son-in-law thereby demeaning the office of the Governor of the Central Bank and undermining the sacred institution. Totally inexperienced and absolutely mediocre social butterfly Ruwan Wijewardena was given the important Defense portfolio by Ranil on the basis of right or wrong feudalism will win basis( the same principle on which he dominates the UNP). No wonder Ruwan’s girl friend and nighttime friends and cooks moved in on defense contracts within 24 hours of clueless Ruwan’s shocking appointment as a Minister !

    The Air Lanka board is a triumph of cronyism of the lowest kind. The majority of the so called Board are settled-down abroad. This appointment to the airlanka board will allow them free tickets and other benefits in their weekly travels to the countries where they are citizens. None of these guys have a commitment to poor Sri Lanka, except their devotion to RW who they worship morning and evening. They all have business interest which clash with their duties on the board and this country. It is a fact that these guys make all their money from commissions earned on business deals.

    So the hard working and patriotic employees of Sri Lankan airline have been again let down badly by a politician.

  • 3
    1

    In early 90s, most of the commercial airline pilots were retired military pilots who had a lot of experience and they did remarkable things n saved lives. But today things are completely different. Some SriLankan Airline pilots made few mistakes that could have led to disasters and loss of hundreds of lives + fame of the airline as well as the whole country such as tail strike of an A340 and shutting down engines during flight which happened recently. But pathetically, former chairman, CEO and higher management of SriLankan Airlines did not take necessary steps and even helped to hide them.

    • 0
      0

      These days even airforce pilots are half baked once. The Sri Lankan airlines pilot who got caught fro drinking while he got in to the flight at Heathrow last year was an ex air force pilot who flew kefir. Where was his air force discipline?. He had 3000hrs when he joined as a JFO.

    • 2
      0

      after going through the article, selection criteria of cadet pilots is at stake, very scary, insisting on lowering the pass make? ha ha if not for these disciplined, morally upright senior pilots standing up against their Gong superiors, these low grade chaps without a thorough education and flying aptitude will be at the control of these sophisticated machines, I cannot believe how capt gruvi perera has qualified as a pilot as well as being the chief pilot? he and his buddies should be never allowed flying duties since there has been blunders committed with the planes where the safety of passengers as well these aircrafts will be compromised. It is high time that these disciplined morally upright pilots be given the task of carrying out a thorough “D” check of the entire SL tech crews. To put back UL into a profit generating carrier by privatizing. The only viable solution for UL as well as all the other public sectors which are all loss making set up.

  • 0
    0

    Aia says Sri Lankan is “Namal’s flying
    angels.”

    That is his national keriyar. He weilds
    the joystick to fly Sri Lankan or Air
    Force. The tax payer’s lost their money
    for the scoundrel.

  • 2
    0

    FAILURES ARE THE PILLARS OF SUCCESS AT UL.

    WHILE THE BETTER PILOTS ARE KEPT AWAY BY YHE MISMANAGERS, THE GREATEST CLOWNS ARE AT PLAY HERE AND IT APPLIES TO TODAYS PILOTS GUILD

  • 1
    0

    Weliamuna commission is a presidential commission and the current
    administrators of Sri Lankan Airlines should be taken to task for not implementing the report.They should have appointed a sub committee to
    study the report and it should be working now, as much money and expertise put into this investigation, instead, the report is put aside
    and its an insult to the PM, who initiated the inquiry. Now the pilots guild, the most powerful body in Sri Lankan airlines, has taken over
    the command and horses changed and the management now will not have their own way in pilots recruitment as Ops. manager need to certify the new recruits. In Weliamuna damning report, it was stated that the operation manager has ordered to lower the pass mark for pilots recruitment to accommodate politicians’ kith and kin, not realising that the flying public’s lives are in the safe hands of the captain of an aircraft and if this happened in any other country, this man will be behind bars as its a criminal offence. There are instances where standards were lowered in the armed forces and police for the same reason but how on earth, the operation manager dared to risk the lives of passengers to please some parliamentarians,mostly ministers of the past govt. The Chairman should release a report as to how far he had progressed with the report and what arrangements are made to recover the monies owed to the airline by way of unofficial travel by members of the former regime, which amounted to 1500 million rupees.
    The chairman should not consider himself above the law by ignoring the
    presidential report, which will be a direct insult to the PM, under whose jurisdiction these large scale financial undertakings come under.
    It is a shame that there is no follow up on numerous commissions inquiries. It looks like these are on paper for public consumption and not for remedial actions. There are already reliable rumours floating that the board of directors and their family members have taken wings before the administration of the airline is put to right. Since Airlanka is such a huge financial burden to the Govt.they should appoint a permanent ombudsman,preferably a foreigner, to investigate staff and people’s complaints on embezzlements,misuses and commissions and he or she should be accessible by email or cell phone. This is the only way, corruption and misuse of power in this organization can be stopped.

    • 0
      0

      There is no use lamenting over Sri Lankan Airline – many public bodies in this country are managed by good for nothing idiots whose only qualification is their shameless ability to lick the boots of their political masters – During MR era we saw brainless idiots like SV coordinating our foreign policy with his selected group of lousy idiots having a gale time as ambassadors – by the end of the era we saw what to our place among the international community – sad part of the story is still these rascals are freely roaming among us – I do not see any major changes in the way the present Gov. carrying out their business – The only visible change is MR had Gamayas / Kuddas / Thugs / uneducated brick bats as his close colleagues and Ranil is having his Royal buddies as his colleagues – because of the difference between the social backgrounds and the educational backgrounds of these two groups their approach towards robbing national wealth is different – But both the groups are robbing and misusing their privilege – We poor idiots are lamenting and writing stories about the activities/ misappropriations of these rascals – no use – at the next election we will again select a bunch of rouges to the parliament and will start lamenting again – never ending story – Voters must first reject all rouges and rascals from all the parties and select a set of young educated guys to the parliament .

  • 8
    0

    Finally that clown Upul Samarakoon’s dicey coverups have been spotted. How the hell a man of that calibre ended up as Manager Training and Standards when there are much more suitable senior pilots is a total mystery, and definitely warrants a thorough investigation.

    All this dog does is bark at people, especially at the cadet pilots making them feel very inferior. Any cadet would think a million times before seeing this maniac for any clarification for even the slightest training related issue.

    This man needs help, proper psychiatric help, and should not be holding such a vital position within the company.

    This position requires an individual with good interpersonal skills who can lead by example, a senior captain all the cadets can look upto and aspire to become, and not some third grade scumbag like this.

  • 0
    1

    Island publication’s are the best

    • 0
      0

      Island

      No wonder ASSwar has switched allegiance from Daily News to Island to air his two cents worth !

  • 0
    0

    I flew Air Lanka once (Tristar-L1011): on take off the whole aircraft was shaking and rattling. When Sri Lankan was managed by Emirates, I flew once but there was no problem with the A340. Now I am domiciled outside Sri Lanka and I only fly Singapore Airlines.

    I have no faith in either Ranil Wickremasinghe or Mahinda Rajapakse. The former President was a thug and a rogue but Ranil Wickremasinghe is a nincompoop. If he had to get a member of his Boys Club to be the CEO of Sri Lankan, what would happen if he becomes a full term Prime Minister? We would all lament – “Aiyyo Sirisena”.

    I wish Sri Lanka would become a British Colony once again. They could have Ranil Wickremasinghe as the Governor-General so that he suck up to the British Conservative Party until he goes to heaven.

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