Amidst a news media blackout on the incident, SriLankan Airlines flight UL 215/6 on the 19th January 2017 scheduled to depart from Colombo to Bahrain and back, was cancelled due to the Flight Attendant Union President Sakvithi Senadheera and his crew’s refusal to operate the flight, citing that they would exceed their Flight Duty Time Limitations.
The cancellation of this flight cost the already loss making national carrier a further thumping loss besides inconveniencing hundreds of passengers both in Colombo and Bahrain.
The pilots scheduled to operate the flight were not affected by the duty time limits, as the airline provides them an overnight stay in Bahrain, whilst the Cabin Crew are made to operate the entire trip to Gulf state and back.
The FAU President Senadheera and his entire crew were subsequently taken off all flying duties pending an investigation.
However reliable sources informed Colombo Telegraph that the management of the national carrier had struck a deal with the FAU President Senadheera, where it is reported he had provided a written letter of apology for his actions in order to safeguard his job.
Senadheera informed the membership of the FAU later, that he had acted in the capacity of a Cabin Manager and not in the capacity of the Union President when dealing with the airline’s management into this incident.
A few days ago the FAU President Senadheera and his crew had been reinstated back to follow their flying rosters.
Meanwhile the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka has sent a letter to Chairman Ajith Dias a couple of days back, stating that the management had been bias in their decision making process into this incident and have not been fair to their grounded pilot Capt. Sujith Jayasekara.
In August of last year Capt.Jayasekara questioned a hurriedly enforced breathalyzer process prior to departing on a flight duty to Bangkok.
Strangely he was permitted to operate his flight to Bangkok by the officials entrusted to carry out the procedure, who then went on to report the pilot to the airline’s management, stating that he refused to carry out the breathalyzer test.
Six months later Capt. Jayasekara who was initially denied his salary for months, still languishes at home as he has refused to provide a written letter of apology, unlike FAU President Senadheera, for a wrong he did not commit.
His investigation is still pending whilst the FAU President Senadheera whose actions cost the airline millions in losses safeguarded his job by simply conforming to the airline management’s demands.
However the irony behind Capt. Jayasekara’s incident is that the entire breathalyzer process was changed by the airline after meetings were held between the management, the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and members of the Pilots Guild. The airline’s management instead of been thankful to Capt. Jayasekara for highlighting the shortfall, have instead left him feeling uncertain about his professional future.
In the final paragraph of the letter, the ALPGSL President Capt. Perera states that the Guild is hereby serving notice to Chairman Ajith Dias for his conduct and that they reserve the right to take legal action against him regarding this matter.