“The all-important question on the lips of every employee of both the national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines and the ‘Low Cost’ carrier Mihin Lanka where Capt. Druvi Perera is the controversially appointed Chief Operations Officer is ‘So Capt. Druvi When Are You Leaving?’”, a senior member of the Pilots’ Guild told Colombo Telegraph.
This question happened to pop up in the minds of the employees when the J.C.Weliamuna led investigation into the national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines revealed also the misdeeds by the COO and his negligent behaviour as a Pilot besides a plethora of other details that will be tabled in parliament soon.
Part of the 136 page report as highlighted by ‘Colombo Telegraph’ yesterday indicates his two infamous incidents when in command of the wide bodied Airbus A340 aircraft.
Firstly the firmly fitted runway lights in Chennai were taken off when under his command the aircraft skidded and ended up many meters away stuck in the sand.
This incident cost the airline much and inconvenienced many passengers was all hushed up.
His second incident was his famous ‘push back’ episode of his famous VVIP flight with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on board. Here the flight he commanded along with Capt. Upul Samarakoon ‘pushed back’ without ATC clearance to the absolute horror of the Air Traffic Controllers on duty.
The entire conversation of shocked ATC officials frantically halting the now moving aircraft was heard by Pilots of other airlines parked on the tarmac.
This safety related incident which should have ideally been documented by Capt. Druvi Perera himself and also by ATC officials on duty by completing ‘Air Ground Safety Report (AGSR)’ or ‘Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR)’ if filed appears to be disappeared into thin air.
The COO’s existence despite these blatant errors which have gone unpunished all this time, is suspected to have been protected by his official ‘Professional Pal’ H.M.C.Nimalasiri the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority himself.
The sheer ignorance of laid down and straight forward basic CCA Procedures was displayed by the CCO Capt. Druvi Perera which went on to question his credentials of holding such a prestigious post.
In this instance also highlighted by ‘Colombo Telegraph’ earlier, the COO went out of his jurisdiction to serve a letter to the Manager Flight / Ground Safety Capt. Charles Sirimanne informing him that he was been relieved of his duties he was holding.
Little did the COO realize that firstly the Manager Flight / Ground Safety reports to the CEO of the airline as indicated in the organization chart of the airline and also laterally to the Director General CAA.
The Director General Nimalasiri had endorsed Capt. Sirimanne’s title as the Manager Flight / Ground Safety after he had himself interviewed the candidate for the post.
The Director General’s letter addressed directly thereafter to the CEO of Mihin Lanka clearly states the information on the removal process of Capt. Sirimanne if the need arose.
The post of Chief Operations Officer is a position that was uniquely created by the former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe who proudly went onto to reveal that he had carried the COO Capt. Druvi Perera when he was a baby. Airline employees jokingly went on to say “Probably the Chairman carried him when he was employed as a nanny in the ‘Perera Residence’ as it was widely known that Wickramasinghe went on to be the first Chairman of the national carrier who had not even passed his Ordinary Level examination.”
“It is best advised that this post of ‘Chief Operations Officer’ is removed with immediate effect as it is causing unnecessary costs to the tax payer. Furthermore Capt. Druvi Perera should not waste more time and resign following the footsteps of his former CEO Kapila Chandrasena, as it is a matter of time before he is eventually shown the exit.” the Pilots’ Guild member said.
“We hope that it would be the case, if not it would be much more detrimental to him if he is arrested, hand cuffed and sent to remand prison awaiting trial for his misdeeds and association regarding several cases of malpractices tantamounting to fraud, where he would then go on to emulate his brother Kavan Perera of Ceylinco ‘Golden Key’ fame.” he further said.