19 May, 2022

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Sri Lankan Airlines – How Safe Are You To Fly?

By Marlon Dale Ferreira

Marlon Dale Ferreira

Marlon Dale Ferreira

The Deputy General and Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka H.M.C Nimalsiri in a stern email addressed to the Sri Lankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena earlier, had intimated his displeasure regarding the supposedly committed gross violation of the Air Navigation Regulations and the associated violations of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards by certain pilots of the airline, thereby threatening the safety of the airline’s operating of commercial flights that carry passengers on board.

Nimalsiri’s email refers to Pilots practicing abnormal and emergency situations on commercial flights when these procedures should never be done with lives at stake.

These maneuvers must only be practiced under the watchful eyes of an Instructor and only in a Flight Simulator, he reiterated.

His opening paragraph stating this startling revelation and threatening the safety of our national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines has raised many eye brows, but more importantly raised the question by future travelers as to “how safe is it to fly with Sri Lankan Airlines anymore?”.

His full email sent in January 2015 reads as follows:

Chief Executive Officer,

Sri Lankan Airlines.

Dear CEO,

This office has information that some of the SriLankan pilots deactivate certain functional and vital flight instruments/engines in flight on SriLankan flights engaged in commercial passenger operations, with a view to getting an opportunity to practicing certain abnormal and emergency conditions. If the above information is valid and factual, such actions would not only amount to gross violation of the Air Navigation Regulations and the associated ICAO international standards but also pose a serious threat to flight safety.

If the pilots need practicing abnormal and emergency situations of aircraft to gain more handling experience, they shall use an appropriate simulator for such purposes.

Kindly note that simulating emergency conditions in commercial passenger flights is entirely prohibited and such situations if detected would be dealt with very seriously.

I shall thank you to kindly bring this matter to the immediate notice of all flight crewmembers, although majority of your pilot population is well experienced, law binding, safety conscious and has a deeper sense of reasonability.

Yours faithfully,

H.M.C.Nimalsiri,

Director General of Civil Aviation and,

Chief Executive Officer,

Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka

No.4, Hunupitiya Road, Colombo 02.

Phone: +94 11 2358 802, Fax: + 94 11 2304 706

The seriousness of these blunders comes in the wake of the investigation of the crashed Air Asia flight which operated from Surabaya to Singapore killing all passengers and crew on board.

The initial investigation of that crashed flight as indicated by a prominent newspaper’s website indicates similar trends where our Pilots have been found to be switching off the Initial Reference Systems (IRS) on board, sending the aircraft into an “alternate law mode” requiring manual handling of the aircraft to regain control of the machine in the sky.

AirlankaQuestionable decisions taken by the airline’s senior management, combined with a colossal amount of Pilot related incidents since of late, are the perfect ingredients for a foreseeable disaster in the offing, if not nipped in the bud, as these have now been detected at a very early stage.

Knowledgeable air travelers have opted to choose other airlines for travel as a personal safety precaution.

It is quite understandable that Sri Lankan Airlines will suppress any information to avoid sending panic waves among their intended air travelers, especially their ‘Fly Smiles’ frequent flyer passengers.

For instance sometime back Capt. Druvi Perera the now Chief Operations Officer, when in command and training a First Officer failed to prevent an incident that took place on landing in Chennai India then.

This is when the aircraft that the current Head of Flight Operations Capt.Perera commanded, skidded off the runaway and with it took away the some of the visual aided lights firmly fitted on the airport’s tarmac, causing insurmountable damage to the aircraft but more importantly incurring a huge cost to the airline in terms of delay, re-routing of the passengers from Chennai, repair cost to the aircraft etc.

He was subsequently given a slap on the wrists and a negligible punishment, but more strangely was promoted to the position of “Chief Operations Officer” a job he still holds.

That post never existed before, and was created especially for him by the former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe and the current CEO Kapila Chandrasena as more of a political appointment.

TRIM (weight & balance) issues on 4 Airbus A320 Aircraft

Further shockingly an email sent to the entire Cabin Crew by Senaka De Soysa the Inflight Services Manager (now sidelined to oversee the functions of Catering & Support Services) have revealed that the airline has to increase an additional 150 Kilos of weight in the forward section of certain aircraft to balance its weight for takeoff.

The contents of De Soysa’s email sent to the entire Cabin Crew on the 23rd January 2015 is as follows:

Dear all,

When the load in BC is low, the weight balance on the aircraft for take-off gets affected and is a safety concern. To remedy this, 2 sales carts will be loaded in the BC galley, in place of 2 tray carts during take-off. We have requested SLCS to do the loading in this manner. Please extend your fullest support in ensuring the take-off weight is maintained, by positioning the tray carts back in the BC galley, ONLY AFTER TAKE OFF. This will be on selected flights only, on a day to day basis.(Basically we need 2 heavy carts in front and 2 light carts at the aft for take-off).

Regards,

Senaka De Soysa

Manager Inflight Service (Catering & Support Services) (Inflight Service Support) | SriLankan Airlines Ltd.Mktg – Service Delivery, Airline Centre, Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, Sri Lanka.

Tel: +94 19733 2648 | Mobile: +94 [Edited out by CT]  | Fax: +94 19733 0094(0)197335262

E-Mail: senaka.desoysa@srilankan.com | Web: www.srilankan.com

Airline sources who wished to remain anonymous revealed that four particular narrow bodied Airbus aircraft arrived with its previously designed seat configuration of 12 Business Class Seats and 138 Economy Class Seats.

However the airline in its quest to increase revenue, decided to fit eight extra seats in Business Class and in the process removed three rows of seats in the forward section of the Economy Cabin for this purpose.

The new seat configuration reads 20 Business Class and 120 Economy seats, which ever since the reconfiguration of the interior cabin took place has been a worrying safety concern for the airline and hence De Soysa’s email to all Cabin Crew.

The same airline sources have now further revealed that they are contemplating to remove four seats in Business Class to counter this issue.

The aircraft causing this concern are registered as 4R ABM, 4R ABN, 4R ABO, 4R ABP.

Passengers will never know if they are travelling on any of these aircraft and can only find out once they get to the departure gate just prior to boarding the aircraft for departure.

By simply looking at the aft (back) of the aircraft’s fuselage (body) and toward the base of the tail they could then identify the painted aircraft registration code as mentioned before.

Some of the commonly known pilot related incidents are found below even though they are supposedly been hushed up.

Incident 1: Pilot trying to simulate an engine failure on takeoff by closing the throttle and thereby mishandling the aircraft, subsequently forgetting to retract the landing gear after take-off on a Trichy to Colombo flight.

Repercussions: Due to the excessive fuel burn caused thereafter due to the ensuing ‘drag’ the aircraft had no choice but return to Trichy. The inquiry which is dragging on has had the Civil Aviation Authority impounding the licenses of both the Captain and First Officer.

Captain in command: Capt. Anupama Pathirane

Questions raised by passengers: What guarantee could the airline provide that this very same pilot who forgot to retract the landing gear would put down the landing gear for the landing in the future?

Incident 2: Flight Deck unmanned due no pilot seated at controls in flight

Situation: Captain in command on a short training flight decides to go to the toilet leaving the new Female Trainee First Officer by herself. The Trainee First Officer detecting bad weather ahead leaves her seat to go look for the captain leaving the Flight Deck unmanned an in auto pilot mode.

Captain in command: Capt. Kosala Ekanayake

Questions raised by passengers: What would have happened if the Flight Deck door got shut leaving both pilots locked out of the Flight Deck?

Incident 3: Pilots deactivating certain functional and vital flight instruments / engines midair on Sri Lankan Airline’s commercial flights and practicing abnormal and emergency conditions as against the laws of ICAO.

Situation: Pilots in Command have been found to be switching off “Air Data Reference Systems” (ADR) switches In Flight on Commercial Flights which sends the aircraft into an alternate law mode. These procedures are only practiced during training and in the Flight Simulator and never on a commercial flight.

Questions raised by passengers: Why are Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) not followed at all times during commercial flights?

Incident 4: Resignation of First Officer Haren Samivel

Situation: Crew Resource Management (CRM) has been compromised as the harmony between the pilots is not healthy at present due to the resignation of First Officer Haren Samivel. It is alleged that he was racially abused by a certain set of pilots with political influence to the point of being verbally abused, verbally threatened and even being physically assaulted finally.

Questions raised by passengers: It has been proven through many safety mediums that many previous accidents and incidents could have been prevented if proper CRM standards were maintained.

Incident 5: Pilot apprehended after being detected to be under the influence of alcohol departing London Heathrow.

Situation: Blood tests reveal he was over the permitted limit. However the investigation is still going on and eight months later the First Officer sits at home without pay. Rumour has it that he may be found guilty for bringing the airline into disrepute and eventually terminated. But the biggest drawback for the airline officials to do so is because the Flight Operations Manual (FOM) has contradicting information about the termination clause for this type of offence.

Incident 6: Captain in command departs London Heathrow without the proper take off calculations disregarding the Standard Operating Procedures and endangering the aircraft and passengers.

Situation: He is reprimanded for this offence as United Kingdom (UK) tabloids highlight this Pilot error and further it was highlighted by British Aviation Authorities. The Captain was eventually made to fly as a “Cruise Pilot” as a punishment. His punishment probably did not go the full distance as for his good luck his niece is married to Johnstone Fernando the Minister in the former Rajapaksa Government.

Captain in Command: Wendall Kelaart

Comment from a former passenger who never flies Sri Lankan Airlines anymore:

It is quite obvious that there are some serious concerns pertaining to this airline not only from a loss making operation but on a more serious flight safety note.

Compromising the safety of the aircraft, the passengers and crew is of grave concern and reports like these only highlight what would usually be hidden away from us passengers.

It would be interesting to see if the new Chairman Ajit Dias would first ensure that his passengers are safe before he could even clean his house is a question is a question that would be anticipated with eventual answers.

I for one would not be contributing towards our national carrier even though I have been a frequent flyer and have generated colossal revenue to the airline since I have been based in Dubai for many decades.

What baffles me even further is that many current pilots of Sri Lankan Airlines are clueless about some of these incidents. Punishing offenders for committing an offence is one thing but sharing of knowledge and increasing CRM among Pilots is the key to prevent further disasters.

By not sharing this information through their Safety Department the Flight Operations Department is actually committing a more heinous crime, which is more of a worrying concern, as professional airlines usually would do otherwise.

S. S from Dubai

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Latest comments

  • 11
    7

    OMG ! Thank you Marlon for this very vital piece of information. No more SriLanka for me or my family. I thought the safety standards on MihinAir were below par but never imagined SriLankan to do seemingly worse, despite reports of near-close mishaps in the recent past. Passenger safety is of utmost importance and no one would want to take unnecessary risks especially with such foolhardy crew as reported in your article. Thank you, Marlon once again.

    • 2
      1

      As an ex-aviation man I know that it’s the veterans, whether pilots or ground staff, who break safety rules without batting an eyelid. They’ve been doing it so often that they don’t give a tinker’s cuss for rules and regulations, which they think are a hindrance to time schedules.

      DGCA Nimalsiri is no push-over. He is one of the best hands-on DGCAs we have ever had. Since he had taken a serious view of this, you can bet your last dollar on the accuracy of these reports.

      As someone had mentioned, it doesn’t pay to shoot the messenger. Marlon Ferrieira has blown the whistle without hiding behind pseudonyms and correctly so. Names have been mentioned and punishments meted out likewise. Airline safety does not depend on sympathies and “just not cricket, machan” sentiments.

      Sure, those who have whiffed kerosene for years ultimately become family, but not at the expense of passenger and aircraft safety.

      • 0
        0

        Regarding the incident no 4 where the First Officer resigns after a brawl, since when it has become a CRM issue when pilots gets drunk at Party and have arguments and brawls?Crew Resource Management is something where you practice the moment you meet your Co pilot and Crew and till you depart the Airport after flight. Civil Aviation Authorities and Pilots guild cannot get involved in personal issues of the crew members outside duty hours.

        If thats the case CAA and Pilots Guild should get involved with so many issues specially when training was terminated due to not CRM was practiced in the SIM, Instructors taking biased decisions , Instructors being abusive towards Cadets/ First Officers etc , how come the CEO or DG of CAA do not consider these incidents as CRM issues and have a sympathy on First officers resignation? This is not right. Surely they are washing and cleaning dirty linen of a First Officer who resigned because certain Captains must be canvasing on behalf of this First Officer. This is deviating from the Norms and doesnt raise issue on other important CRM issues in the Company. There are cases where Cadets were sent on training with out checking their Licenses , IR renewals and some cases where Certain Cadets joined and gone for training where they had forged flying hours in their log books and questions raised from their flying schools to CXl the license but Sri Lankan CPL was given , no action were taken by the CAA nor the Guild,and some pilots unfortunately had to leave because of these issues of other incompetent pilots.CAA never raised these issues nor listen and investigated to do justice for these victims.Mainly these pilots were not the types who carry Golf Bags for Captains, make Tree huts during Camping for Capatains and NOT willing to do any dirty work to get sympathy.

        What about the First Officer who got caught for Paying for ATPL but he was released and now flies in another far east Airline was his license CXled? Over to the writer to get some clarification..

  • 5
    13

    Is nt he a Purser trying to upstage the flight safety officer?

    • 3
      5

      Fareed, this is a guy who is bored and hasnt had supper. So he write rubbish to justify the oxygen he breathes.

    • 2
      2

      Bo, I think you now the author…. Shame, unless he has the fact, he should refrain from cheap sensationalism….

      Cheap thrills……

  • 10
    11

    It is not just the airline. This is how the whole country is run. No processes. No systems. Everyone does as they please. That is SINHALA BUDDHISM in action so those who go around avdocating a SINHALA BUDDHIST state had better realize what they are bringing upon themselves and everyone else.

    • 3
      2

      @crazyoldmansl, Lord Buddha once said ” he who speaks low of other peoples’ beliefs and rituals, is insulting his own” So I do not need to say anymore about your comment. As for the article, all I have to say is that it sounds very much like a sad effort to make a story out of nothing. The writer has published names of professionals which is not ethical by whatever standards. What happened to “innocent till proven guilty” ? I agree that pax life is of utmost importance but so is the professional reputation of those who fly them.

  • 14
    2

    These revelations are frightening. As the present CEO is obviously in the know of this situation with no proper remedial action being taken, it is mandatory that the new chairman inquire into these matters urgently. WIDE PUBLICITY SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THIS IN THE INTERESTS OF PASSENGER SAFETY AS A PRIORITY.

  • 37
    10

    As someone who has been in the aviation field till very recently I’d like to share my thoughts. Sri Lankan airline has one of the greatest safety records in the world, far better than all the middle east airlines combined. This is partly due to the fact that out pilots and crew have some of the best training on the world and are extremely professional at what they do. This is reflected by the middle eastern airlines clamoring to recruit our pilots at such exorbitant salaries to entice them.
    Though I am not aware of all authentic nature of all the incidents stated above I can tell you that the repercussions of such incidents though not to be condoned with are not as dire as the writer states. For example if the cockpit door were to be locked the pilot could simply gain entry by entering a unique code changed for each flight that is known only to them to read enter. How ever the lapse of judgment by the trainee is a serious matter and sri Lankan have dealt with it appropriately by terminating the trainee is question.
    Another incident posted out regarding a certain captain Wendell Kellart being connected to Johnston fernando is immaculate. Kellart is a foreign expatriate captain from Europe with no prior connection whatsoever with our country. This looks like sensationalism by the writer to give this article credibility.
    Finally the first incident posted here regarding what would have happened if the landing gear was not down on landing the answer is that the aircraft would have generated many different warnings (aural and visual) far before the incident becomes a problem.
    I don’t condone with any of the incidents mention above true or false but I think they public should be educated on the manner to have a better understanding of what is written here.
    Further even the writer states that all these issues have been addressed by Sri Lankan Airlines.
    My personal opinion is that this is a case of yellow journalism trying to create an article out of nothing.

    Sorry for my haphazard rambling.
    Regards to all.

    • 4
      0

      Wendell Kellart is of burgher descent and a former Sri Lanka Air Force officer. He has since obtained Australian citizenship. His wife is from Kurunegala and the relationship to the former minister is a known fact.

      This is not a slander on him but to correct a wrong assumption that he is from Europe.

    • 3
      3

      Wendell Kellart is as much Sri Lankan as Namo Namo Matha! Really, get your act together…. foreign national! What a joke. Were you stupid and just grew up to be so?

      However, as to him being connected to whoever and his ability as Captain is something I cannot comment on as I dont have enough information

      To the best of my knowledge, he is without blemish and unless you and Marlon have a great deal of evidence, please dont provoke persons and tarnish their names.

      As for Marlon, suggest you find a job and leave journalism to someone with better standings than someone of caliber. (Heard Emirates may take you back for the 3rd time)

  • 13
    9

    Someone must be really frightened of the the SAL’s New Generation A 330 300 and A A 350- 500 fleet encroaching on Big Boys, Europe Colombo Business.

    With Fantastic selection of Food, Drinks and Srilankan chicks friendly service the new Fleet will be a real winner and a star attraction.

    Our Holy See even hitched a ride on Srilankan.. Didn’t he?…

    Wonder whose books this Dude is in ?…

    • 4
      4

      for once i agree with you K A Sumanasekera as compared to many airlines UL is one of the best !

      • 1
        2

        thanks and best regards….

  • 9
    0

    If the contents is true a precarious situation has been created by the Chief Executive Officer and the Manager Flight Operations of SriLankan Airlines. First thing to do by the regulatory authority is to review all the safety manuals and SOP (standard operating Procedures )of this airline to see it complies with the mandatory safety regulations.In this instance the Civil Aviation Authority to be partly blamed for not perusing the manuals and SOPs properly before approvals. Unfortunately when an airline is run by politically appointed Chairman,CEO and a board of Directors (without the necessary industry experience) they can be easily fooled by the senior managers.

    • 15
      0

      “Unfortunately when an airline is run by politically appointed Chairman,CEO and a board of Directors (without the necessary industry experience) they can be easily fooled by the senior managers.”

      Very true. Now, some captain who can only set cricket fields has been appointed to head the national airline. More gloom, more doom.

  • 21
    8

    Dear Marlon,

    It was shocking to read this article to say the least. Mainly due to the factual inaccuracies of the incidents stated. This article has only served to highlight a very few individuals (out of the hundreds of dedicated skilled pilots in the airline) and in most cases, they too are not accurate. Due to that reason, by stating names, you have defamed, slandered and slung mud at certain pilots who have been in aviation for decades. Who have at no point, ever in their esteemed careers, ever put the life of the pax they carry at risk. It would be more prudent to publish such articles, only after you have gained a broad knowledge of what aviation is. Instead, you have resorted to relying on information provided by some prejudiced “watti amma’s” gossiping at the local watering hole. Disgraceful. Just because srilankan is under the spotlight due to mismanagement of the company, you have no right to drag the pilot body who have been instrumental in keeping this airline afloat for even this long, into the drain.

    • 12
      9

      Aviator you will have to do better than that. Marlon has made many specific accusations so you must refute each one if you want to be taken seriously. Merely defending the reputations of ‘hundreds of dedicated skilled pilots in the airline’ (sic) is not enough.

  • 6
    6

    To be frank with you, because of this very fear I never fly with Sri Lankan even they are much cheaper comparing to other well reputed carriers. Especially after Mahinda Rajapakse’s Brother in Law Nishantha Wick who has no competence to run an Airline with G.C.E. O/L qualification, I completely stop flying with Sri Lankan.
    I was once forced to fly to New Delhi with Sri Lankan in 2014 and it justified my fear. I hope the things will change with new admin. and the glory of ‘Air Lanka’ days will come soon.

  • 11
    0

    I think the author is making a mistake. The aircrafts 4R-ABM/N/O/P were delivered brand new to the airline in the same configuration as per http://www.planespotters.net/Production_List/Airbus/A320/4694,4R-ABM-SriLankan-Airlines.php . If so how could that cause a trim issue?

    • 4
      4

      Author…. Please give us your airline credentials and more so your aero tech experience. To the best of my information the only time you were allowed to a flight deck was to serve them pilots their food. Sad that you have been so narrow in your mind to expose with real cold hard facts.

  • 5
    1

    I knew that customer service had deteriorated but assumed that passenger safety was always the airline’s first concern.

    We have to see whether SriLankan will issue an explanation for these accusations. This is what any airline would immediately do under these circumstances. If an explanation is not forthcoming we can only assume that the writer’s accusations are accurate and avoid flying SriLankan in future.

  • 14
    5

    Dear Paul,

    I have no wish to “do better than that”, nor do I wish to play to a gallery of laymen with regards to matters concerning aviation. I am merely standing by fellow pilots, at a time when head hunting of pilots, is a much taken-to game. You may or may not have any idea of the “skills” of the majority of the pilots, who have also been dragged into the drain by this article. In either case, are you going to stop going to a hospital, just because one idiot doctor chopped the wrong limb off a patient, or misdiagnosed another?

    Pax safety, is and will always be, the airline’s and more so, the very pilots, first priority. It is a matter of pride. So do not assume what you have no clue about.

    Out.

    • 1
      2

      Couldn’t have said this better. No wonder you are pilot and I am not! Cheers

  • 7
    4

    Hi, I will respond to all of you by the end of the day. Readers have a right to respond and I personally respect that. I will not be perturbed or for that matter be emotional in my replies to you.Keep it flowing after all seeing your reactions is what inspires and humors me.

  • 5
    8

    You assume I know nothing about aviation. You do not even know whether I am a retired pilot. Your analogy of one idiot doctor is absurd because this is not a matter of one idiot pilot. It is a whole list of allegations that you are unable to refute. So we must wait for SriLankan to do so, if they can.

  • 11
    3

    This guy cannot be an expert on aviation. Read it carefully and you will find that he refers to IRS as an INITIAL REFERNCE SYSTEM. However what IRS actually stands for is INERTIAL REFERNCE SYSTEM. How can we take him seriously, when he makes such basic mistakes? Sri Lankan, here I am coming to enjoy your hospitality.

    • 7
      4

      “This guy cannot be an expert on aviation”
      Oh, really? Do you indeed have to be an expert on aviation to recognize what is plainly obvious as constituting dangerous ‘issue’? Remember, lives are at stake here and the consequences are grave.

  • 7
    4

    A few definitions
    • Inertia is the property of bodies to maintain constant translational and rotational
    velocity, unless disturbed by forces or torques, respectively (Newton’s first law of
    motion).
    • An inertial reference frame is a coordinate frame in which Newton’s laws of motion
    are valid. Inertial reference frames are neither rotating nor accelerating.
    • Inertial sensors measure rotation rate and acceleration, both of which are vectorvalued
    variables.
    • Gyroscopes are sensors for measuring rotation: rate gyroscopes measure rotation
    rate, and integrating gyroscopes (also called whole‐angle gyroscopes) measure
    rotation angle.
    • Accelerometers are sensors for measuring acceleration. However, accelerometers
    cannot measure gravitational acceleration. That is, an accelerometer in free fall (or
    in orbit) has no detectable input.
    • The input axis of an inertial sensor defines which vector component it measures.
    Multi‐axis sensors measure more than one component.
    • An inertial measurement unit (IMU) or inertial reference unit (IRU) contains a
    cluster of sensors: accelerometers (three or more, but usually three) and
    gyroscopes (three or more, but usually three). These sensors are rigidly mounted
    to a common base to maintain the same relative orientation.

    (Ref:http://aerostudents.com/files/avionics/InertialNavigationSystems.pdf)

    In other words, it is a system stabilized by gyroscopes.

    Sri Lankan should sue this guy if he trying to scare off pasengers without a valid reason.

    • 1
      3

      I believe he lat the cat out of the bag when he requested more people to write to inspire and HUMOUR him

    • 5
      1

      High-browed definitions based on physics & quantum mechanics ‘not for dummies’ are very impressive indeed. But what use are they in averting potential airline disasters stemming from carelessness and disregard for passenger safety.

  • 13
    0

    http://www.airlineratings.com/ratings/53/srilankan-airlines
    According to airlineratings .com we are in pretty good company 7/7 for safety . so there you go.

  • 1
    1

    Country and the airline was in the same way.

    Politically appointed boards cannot do better than that. You need professionals from all disciplines to be on a board like Sri Lankan.

    Hopefully the new board doesn’t look too bad with many good people from the private sector. Good thing is that none of them require a free ticket.

    Let’s without and see.

  • 11
    4

    Wasn’t the writer of this article a former employee of Emirates or some other prominent middle eastern airline at one time?

    • 6
      5

      What’s your point?

    • 5
      2

      The danger of being blown out of the sky through ‘smart’ tinkering of safety guidelines and airline ethics has scant respect for the origin of the airliner, whether Western, Eastern Middle Eastern or Oriental. So, beware of shooting the messenger when an issue such as this which is serious and central to our very existence is raised, however spurious the message may appear to be. Remember, theres no smoke without fire and hence, this issue needs to be addressed very honestly at the highest level of airline responsibility. More so in the current context of political appointees being given plum postings without any professional expertise. Like one Paisa lamented here, a captain has now been appointed to head the national airline when all he knows is how to set a playing field for a lordly game of cricket. This ceases to be a joke and warrants serious investigation because the allegations are not limited to one lapse but a multitude of them.

  • 16
    1

    Dear Marlon,

    It sure seems like a very pathetic effort from either an ex disgruntled employee of Airlanka / Sri Lankan airlines to make such inaccurate accusations against an airline and individuals. Sadly, perhaps your efforts with your current employee and such badmouthing has not held you in good stead and hence you need to taint an airline with good repute !!

    I am sure you would agree with me when I say that you need to put your own house in order before you go around changing the world !! I am sure you also know how an AE based airline you may know of now re configured an aircraft with a seating capacity of 378 to 452. Now that for you if in case you don’t know, in the airline industry is called configuration options provided by the manufacturer. The same type of aircraft as mentioned before was re configured by another airline to 476. So that again is a configuration option by the manufacturer. I would like to think that you are from the airline industry going by your technical terminology used and as such you being in the airline industry have a responsibility towards the layman passengers of sharing accurate information without prejudice. Having been in the airlines for nearly 25 years with various airlines and having never worked for Sri Lankan airlines does not give me any rhyme or reason to make this comment other than to right a wrong when one sees injustice being handed out.

    I trust that you would think long and hard before you put pen to paper next time around, as I strongly belive that you appear to be a tool for another to acieve their ends. Please don’t go around making incorrect statements simply because you can, instead make statements which will up lift the confidence and credibility of an airline in these trying economic environment considering the tragedies the airline industry encountered in 2014.

    Wish you good luck mate !!
    Cheers
    Kitty Hawk

    • 5
      1

      @Kitty Hawk
      “Please don’t go around making incorrect statements simply because you can:

      Im really impressed that you know the meaning of ‘configuration options’ in airline parlance.But WHAT are these ‘incorrect statements’ you also refer to and HOW do you know they are ‘incorrect’ .

      Waiting patiently for your enlightened response.
      -Shitty Dork

  • 3
    0

    Paul,

    Let’s trade our ATPL license numbers and see who’s clocked in more years and hours on the left seat. That is, if you are an aviator as well. Sincerely hope you are not!

  • 7
    1

    Hi marlon, if by one goes to ur face boon account they can see that u have never been in one airline.. My concern why does ur occupation say ur working as a steward till present when u went all over? Is it cas u don’t know to use technology to change ur job function? Or cas u just don’t like people realising how many places chased u out ?

  • 6
    1

    This is absurd,this writer seem to think he is an Airline expert!! This is an effort to Spoil the Airlines clear Safety Record for Nothing. This Guy is all out simply to tarnish the Image of the national Airline. Yes Airline may have lost some Money,but look at Progress it has made over the past Few years.

    This kind of efforts by our own so called writers to put panic to the Minds of travellers is sick as With the Kind of sheer stupid comments as a national of this Country he is doing his best to Push People away from Travel with national Airline?

    What we need to clearly understand is 65% of the tourists to this Country is flown in by Srilankan Airlines which is what makes the whole Tourism industry in our Country a succsess. If the Airline lose a Million Dollars,the Country makes 8-10 Million from this industry just not Hotels,but every Person related to this industry from a villager who supplies may be fruits,or simple Stuff.so trying to kill off the national Airline dös Not do any favours to thousands who Feed their family from this.

    I can clearly See this writer has only one Mission to continue to tarnish the Image of the Airline for whatever reasons he believes in or he has been put up to do this.

    As Educated People who possibly Travel more than this writer,lets Not press the panic Button but look at a clean Safety Record this Airline has for over 30 years.

  • 6
    0

    So here I am an ex Airlankan saying my piece. I too ( Just as Rajeewa in a previous column did ) represented the carrier in one of it’s overseas stations in Europe. I will leave it at that.

    The carrier is safe to fly. By far the Airline Industry itself is safer than taking a bloody bus or driving anywhere.

    In Behavioral Sciences, we freak out to the disproportionate amount of information that is available in front of us. AKA ” The Availability Bias “. We hear less of car accidents and the number of people who die and hear more of Airplane Accidents, which are far less. More people die in car accidents than plane accidents. Yet, what freaks us out most are Airplane Accidents.

    Marlon is free to voice his concerns, he must. Perhaps he can also let us know the good thingy’s happening with the carrier, for balance.

    After the AirFrance aircraft that fell from the sky out of Brazil and the Continental Flight that crashed in Buffalo NY, pilots have been asked to reorient themselves in ” real flying ” by switching off the Auto Pilot and taking ” Manual Control ” of the aircraft. By and large most pilots now switch on the Autopilot at 1000 feet and relax. Canadian Airforce Pilots were known to climb to 800 feet and let the autopilot take over. Such is technology, it makes us a bit dumb too.

    This maybe why UL pilots test their skills away from the simulator. Disengaging the autopilot, flying the aircraft manually and getting pulled up by the DGCA.

    Re-configuring aircrafts ( re arranging the seats, sort of ) and load balancing due to reduced load factors are common practice in the Industry.

    The carrier has rigorous entry requirements, simulator training and frequent check pilot supervision. You fail, you don’t fly. Amen.

    Capt. Wendal Kellart is an Old Josephian, a cricketer, and a former SLAF pilot. It is normal for a crew member to operate on a ” cruise pilot ” status. At times to refresh flying skills, at times as route observers etc. It appears corrective action has been taken over Capt. Kelaarts findings ( if this is the case ).

    Under a different President, in a different time, the Board was so gung ho over showing their Boss how incremental revenue was generated that they overrode engineering dept to release aircrafts scheduled to do routine ” checks “. The chaps at engineering were seen more at their places of worship during these crazy times.

    Finally, I fly Srilankan, each time I travel. I am confident of it’s safety and genuine hospitality of the crew. ( Btw, I pay regular prices as most folks do. No freebee’s for me as an ex employee, for I left before the carrier was sold and unsold ).

    Many Thanks for reading.

  • 6
    4

    Marlon, My friend I do not intend to slander you in a way that you had written this “pissing in the wind” write-up.To many of us this airline is our mother, we intend to keep it that way.What you had done is taking a sweeping shot at all of us at Sri Lankan and that’s unethical. You had just taken a common dig at the entire airline and that’s like me talking about your marriage,many mistresses in your Lanka lion days.Pilots are not my favorite bunch of people,as they are capable of stealing even from the hungry.However Srilankan Airlines breed pilots, and that of the best in the world. our pilots are flying the latest and the most modern equipment available in all Gulf carriers and some of them are trainers in leading airlines.Don’t ever underestimate capabilities of Sri Lankan workforce and my friend if you want to use this just unpacked democracy at your free will, please take it on the corrupt politicians and the comedians who has ruined this wonderful airline.Don’t think we are dumb ducks Marlon, we are watching & waiting.

  • 3
    0

    I must confess I’m no expert in the field of aviation and I suppose most of the points mentioned by the author of the article is quite frankly exagerating the true incidents(we do know reporters do tend to do this sort of stuff all the time),also I do not condone the author citing names of pilots…however it goes without saying that every rumor has a kernel of truth in it,and we cannot ignore the events that took place in the past as the air line was run by a shady government….so what I’m trying to say is that I hope the new administration will look in to these aligations and do justice to both the airline and the passengers….because at the end of the day all I care is getting back home in one piece.. ;)

  • 5
    3

    Reading all the comments some very personally attacking the author like Himadon is sad. Marlon in all probability got this information from disgruntled employees past and present.

    I was a regular flier of UL but now fly Emirates or Qatar. Still wIth the little I do fly with Sri Lankan I would rate the in flight service as one of the best but then with so much of political appointees the airline has gone to dogs. With the politically appointed CEO from the previous regime still at the helm of affairs there is little hope that things would change. Look at the country Manager a political appointee in Dubai you can ask the staff and they them selfs will give you more information about the disgraceful conduct and activities.

    Ofcorse there are thousands of good employees at Sri Lankan who were silently and sadly watching what was becoming of our national airline and they are hoping things will change with the new government but that seems to be fading out with the CEO and all his catches in place.

    It would also be good to find the reasons behind changing DNATA as GSA in Dubai and appointing Trident an obscure travel agency as GSA. Why did the Sri Lankan CEO travel to Dubai stealthily after the govt was toppled and use Fly Dubai to fly back on the 18th of January ? Ofcourse the authorities will be able to verify this thru Immigration records.

    Factual or not factual does not matter thanks Marlon for bringing some incidents into the open. Let the new chairman who is reputed to be a clean person with good work ethic put this great air line back in track.

  • 4
    4

    This guy seems to be blowing things out of proportion obviously harbouring a grudge against Srilankan Airlines
    BA had this crew member who was after consuming liquor well known fact and he has mischieviously has attached such other airline faults to srilankan
    Srilankan pilots are well trained and many of them were willingly taken in by most carriers around the world including SQ and EK and QR etc etc who are performing well,
    No airline management allows cabin management to issue circulars which are detrimental to weight and balance,Configurations changed if the changes entail commercial benefits as per instructions given by the manufacturers
    Dear friend Please visit a bar and get your vent out of yourself without talking nonsense,The airline authorities are well versed in safety regulations and Mr Nimalsiri is not a gentleman who will tolerate such nonsense.Please refrain from bringing undue disrepute to professionals in the feild
    I think UK L could do without passngers like you.

  • 3
    1

    To all UL affiliates, we all know UL has maintained the best safety record in Asia. We all human beings do sometimes make mistakes such as been late or taking a drink longer than one must, forgetting the call of duty, but not to an extent of endangering their job /license and harm to others.

    We in the UK, see many such articles and reports of Crew and Tech crew incidents from many Airlines that frequent LHR. That is why the CAA(UK) has its fellow officers policing and has a zero tolerance, to deter the least.

    UL has one of the best training schools in Asia and most up to date technical evaluation procedures, we can speak volumes of our safety measures Audits and briefings. No captain or Cabin Crew for that matter will take chances with their lives and put their fellow passengers at risk, I can assure you.

    If Marlon, is willing to pay for research, (rather than follow gossip)I am sure he will easily find such minor misdemeanors on all major airlines. They get cautioned by their respective CAA`s on and off. But they keep it internally and ensure not to allow such practice. So does UL bringing safety appraisals and rules to counter.

    By publishing such issues this way, this only creates a fear psychosis amongst our fellow passengers. We have safely landed for over 30year and this is the story to follow, our Credibility for safety first and throughout. Marlon knows the standard of safety we follow at UL, from his experience with UL cabin Crew. However UL takes all such concerns seriously and this will also be probed and action to tighten any concerns.

    With reference to weight and balance, weight must be spread balancing the cargo loads normally. The A320 being with non palliated loading, for belly cargo, it is a practical solution to adjust the loading by spreading the service/weight on board. which is a CAA regulated Trimming format. Gihan M (UL/UK)

  • 2
    1

    I agree 100% the writer on piloting incidents. They are true and is worthwhile to investigate and discuss. Just because we all love ‘SriLankan’ we must not let the prime safety factor to ruin it all.

    • 2
      0

      The writer quotes names and emails. His article has been copied by several Sri Lankan websites. Why hasn’t SriLankan responded? If the comments are false why haven’t they threatened legal action? What are we to make of their silence?

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