14 December, 2017

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SriLankan Airlines’ Breathalyzer Test Controversy: Pilot Who Questioned Testing Procedure Found Guilty

SriLankan Airlines Captain Sujith Jayasekara who challenged the hurriedly imposed and tainted breathalyzer test procedure prior to his departure to Bangkok in August of 2016, has been found guilty at the end of the lengthy eight month inquiry, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns.

Captain Jayasekara

The national carrier hurriedly organized breathalyzer tests to be carried out on their pilots in August 2016. This is after Capt. Upendra Ranaweera was earlier found to be under the influence of alcohol in Frankfurt, which resulted in the airline incurring a massive loss despite inconveniencing hundreds of its passengers.

However whilst departing to operate his flight UL 402 to Bangkok in August of last year, Capt. Jayasekara noticing a blatant violation in the breathalyzer test procedure, questioned the airline’s security personnel about the legitimacy in which they were carrying out the test. At the conclusion of their conversation and with no breathalyzer test being conducted the pilots were permitted to proceed and operate their flight.

Subsequently much after the aircraft departed the security personnel then informed the airline’s management that the two pilots had refused to undergo a breathalyzer test.

During the process of the ongoing inquiry, the management of SriLankan Airlines convened a meeting with both the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka and agreed on a legitimate breathalyzer test procedure which was subsequently enforced.

Meanwhile the Head of Flight Operations Capt.Rajind Ranatunga informed the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka that the inquiry has now been concluded and that Capt. Sujith Jayasekara has been found guilty.

Quoting the Head of Flight Operations, the APGSL President Capt. Venura Perera sent in a letter to airline’s Chairman Ajith Dias, blaming the faulty breathalyzer test procedure that was implemented at the time.

Capt. Perera blamed Chairman Dias for maintaining double standards in his decision making process and demanded that Capt. Jayasekara be reinstated with immediate effect.

Prior to joining SriLankan Airlines, Capt. Sujith Jaysekara was a distinguished Air Force Pilot who received many awards for his bravery during the civil war. (Janaka Ranaweera)

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  • 22
    23

    “distinguished……………..”
    “……………………………….bravery during the civil war”

    Dropping bombs on insurgents and civilians who had no anti-aircraft guns was not bravery – it was coldblooded murder.
    The Air Force carried out thousands of such “brave” missions.

    They did the same during two JVP insurrections, and were even given Mig 17 fighters.

    Now, the brave airmen are ferrying civilians and object to breathalyser tests.
    Once one becomes addicted to liquor – even duty-free and imported, in Air Force messes – it is difficult to get rid of the habit.

    • 12
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      Sri Lankan MUST ensure the safety and security of its passengers. Unions can go fly a kite. Rules and regulations are laid down not for fanfare but to ensure they are strictly adhered to. In the instance of this drunk of an air force pilot, he was subjected to a routine procedure and the very refusal by him to comply implies guilt. Thank God those passengers on UL 402 that day reached their destination safe.

      In terms of being decorated and galant in Sri Lanka – these are not accomplishments recognized on merit, but rather the extent of boot licking one performs gets him the crown!

    • 14
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      It’s so sad that you are trying to comment on a subject that you have no knowledge at all.in this instance when a security personnel was trying to carry out the breathalyzer test instead of qualified medical staff..where captain Jayasekara had questioned them ? When you walk in to a hospital to get a blood test done after paying which is your consent would you allow the hospital security to draw blood from you ???? further company never found him guilty for being intoxicated and was allowed to operate the plane as per schedule

      • 2
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        Ruvini – your knowledge is worse in this case.
        “When you walk in to a hospital to get a blood test done after paying which is your consent would you allow the hospital security to draw blood from you ????” The bleeding is not done by a Doctor (though test was prescribed by a doctor) nor is it done by a Micro-Biologist (though the analysis will be done) leave alone a trained nurse. The bleeding is done by an ordinary person trained to perform that task using specific equipment, called “bleeders”. The blood sample then arrives inside a lab and then it is tested by professionals.
        Their are numerous Instantaneous Test Equipment used by ordinary persons (not doctors or scientists) to make random tests on different circumstances. A police constable may use a “speed gun” to check the speed of an oncoming vehicle and from the result he sees on his equipment, he will take further action – their is no necessity for a specially qualified certified professional person for this job. Sensitive passenger entry points are monitored using Radio and X-ray equipment by ordinary security persons with training on the operation of the equipment, the security person will make a decision from the “beeps” and alerts he gets from the scanners – again no need for a electronic engineer or scientist to be at that location. In this case, Security Staff trained to operate the equipment requested to test the Pilot. We know that the Sri Lankan armed forces including the air-force are an arrogant group and this Pilot’s ego would have made him to refuse, similar to the way if he was stopped by a Policemen in SL for a breathalyzer test (how dare an heroic Air Force officer is stopped and questioned!!!), this is because the ignorance is similar to Ruvini. We are a country of bums, when it comes rules, discipline, ethics, principles and simply good conscience.

  • 22
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    Sack the security personnel who let him to the cockpit.

    Thank God no disaster,its a joke it’s like security for bank when the robbers come let them to rob then inform the authority.

  • 13
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    Management living in fear of the managed, laxity in discipline, permissiveness, unwillingness to act and don’t care attitude of all entities permeate the institution.

    For a breathalyzer test and inquiry where in the world is 8 months taken? A country so advanced in science as to do a DNA on Prabakaran and announce results in 4 days should take this long?!

    • 11
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      “where in the world it takes eight months” Well now you know it – Sri Lanka, the wonder of asia!

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 8
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    This case maybe different in the sense perhaps he was not drunk; and that he only challenged the improper procedure.

    But everyone else knows who arrogant and cussed the main lot of UL pilots are. That is why they are up in arms now against this government’s attempts to clean the Augean Stables. It is indeed a Herculean task for the new government. Give them a chance. Crooks with no money are claiming they have bid for the airline with dubious fake trails and dubious paperwork claiming money from disparate investors. Only 1 company seems to have any credibility. This UL had profits when CBK had tied it with EK. After The God King took it over in a fit of anger, it has been running at a loss. All and sundry were allowed to run amok. CAA was full of political authorities and crooked relatives of the God King and other political catchers. UL was headed by the crooked BiL without O-levels. Everyone was allowed to run amok and that is why there are unhappy now with the current administration not allowing them to run amok.

    • 3
      0

      “This case maybe different in the sense perhaps he was not drunk; and that he only challenged the improper procedure.”

      “At the conclusion of their conversation and with no breathalyzer test being conducted the pilots were permitted to proceed and operate their flight”
      Mr. Hiddleston
      How did you arrive at the above conclusion when this guy did not let the security officers to test him? But you were wise enough to use the word ‘perhaps’ in your comment.

  • 4
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    God please grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change !!!! National caarier ????

  • 14
    3

    Finally, yet another drunk pilot has been meted out justice. Kudos to the Sri Lanka judiciary, although it took a long period of 8 months.

    Such fellows do not deserve to be called as CAPTAINs. Instead they should be called MURDERERS. Clearly, the passengers lives are not worthy of anything to such drunkards. What kind of responsibility do these drunkards have towards the Carrier that they represent, or to the passengers who entrust their lives in the hands of such idiots.

    Sri Lankan Airlines should enforce this law even stronger to avoid any further recurrence of such incidents. It would be even better if they chose pilot who DO NOT drink at all. But it is a tall order to ask for.

    • 0
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      Barus, you are displaying your ignorance. How can you call him a drunkard? Are you aware of the basis of his refusal to be tested? Certainly not because he was drunk. He perhaps did so because it was not the correct procedure that was adopted.

  • 13
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    Captain Jayasekera would have been found not Guilty,had he been the Cats Whiskers of the Chairman-Srilankan Airlines,in true Srilankan style!

  • 7
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    No wonder the new owners are said to be seriously thinking of rebranding it as SIllyLankan Airlines.After all our airline should reflect something really Sri Lankan isn’t it?

  • 3
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    LOOKS LIKE SRILANKAN AIRLINES IS A SECURITY FIRM WITH NUMBER OF AIRCRAFTS

  • 5
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    It’s indeed risky flying Sri Lankan with drunkeds like this hoodlum allowed to fly. Looks like Capt Perera the head of the pilots union too is an alcoholic. Otherwise why should he defend a pilot who refuses a breatherliser test? There are no health and safety standards in Sri Lankan airlines which runs according to Mahinda’s rules- meaning no rules, but bullying and thuggery.

    The Sri Lankan pilots are a bunch of not pot cases, speaking in pigeon English to cover up their poor English at the start of the flight. The pilots should give the flight instructions in Sinhala and get an English speaking stewardess to do the translation. I have not flown Sri Lankan except once since it was taken away from Emirates airlines as the flights are UL- usually late like the name in the airline. That flight was delayed by 12 hours and my American wife and my 3year old were put up in a mosquito infested cheap dump a so called hotel in Negambo….even the poor house maids found this a bit rough for 12 hours after a 3 hour delay in getting us to the mosquito farm.

    Curruption begets curruption, what a bunch of losers. They even had to sack a German sham ‘pilot’ who was doing the London flight without a commercial pilot’s license… To date there have been no investigation into this matter and our people are happily flying this BS airline. Forgive my French, a life is far too precious to loose at the hand of a unruly cretin who calls himself a pilot. A staring point is getting them to go to night school to brush up their poor English.

    • 0
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      [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

    • 9
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      Hello MODAYA this article is about a pilot who questioned about a breathalyzer test procedure…not anything to do with their English proficiency. Just because you got hitched to a American women to get access to USA don’t think that you become an American.I really wonder why your comments were not edited out as it has no value or anything to do with the said incident. In this instance you have displayed that you are a real M O daya

    • 7
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      I fly Emirates quite often and I find it quite common that their majority Eastern European (Czech) pilots speak atrocious English too. However this is of no concern to me as long as he flies the plane safely.
      Speaking English is no sign of competence or intelligence and lack of it is no sign of the opposite.
      I suggest you sit down with your “American” wife and ponder as to what sad life events made you believe your mother tongue is so inferior. And while your at it please brush up on your English with her too as I see you have not understood the content of the article which state this man did not refuse the test but only questioned the haphazard manner in which it was carried out.

      • 0
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        Ruwan, thank you for your articulate response.

  • 4
    1

    I have known Sujith for many years even prior to his joining Srilankan Airlines. He was the trusted and selected pilot of former President R. Premadas during his tenure.

    Sujith always fought against wrong doings in the airline and he was always involved in cleaning the airline from all types of corruptions.
    He kept the Senior Management on their toes to avoid corruptions.

    I have no doubt he was against the breathalyzer test purely due to the way it was done. Not that he was under the influence of liquor.

    Srilankan Management is purely taking this against him to harm him. One day the truth will prevail.

  • 2
    3

    Pilots Guild – you try to defend your Senior Captain, nothing wrong with that but where were you guys whne the Drunken pilot who got caught in Heathrow, sacked from Sri Lankan, then joined Mihin and now managed to get in to Sri Lankan again( well do not know why he cant join another airline ??)

    Then the Cadet who was blacklisted for trying to get his pass marks lower after Chief Pilot and Manager Standard ( Captains) both resigned, that entire Batch was CXl,this same cadet went to Mihin , and now joined Sri Lankan again, I am just asking whether these Two Captains carry their 4 bars and go flying with the same Cadet whome they refused to take.( Captains did the right thing with dignity but what about the manager and HR who took this first officer back from mihin) what a shame to these two captains.

    Now where were you Pilots guild??? You could not stand by your colleagues for these few incidents? We know the then Chief Pilots son who is under training had issues online yet he was checked out ,, where were you again????

  • 3
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    And my American wife

    Maybe selection of country to country

    Matie they do the tremendous job at UL,good hospitality privileged to be gold member and enjoy the lounge.

    • 2
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      He might be rejected by Lankan women,but lot of sham marriages in the west in order to get visa to hide.

      Thinking married to Neil Armstrong even that also fake they says.looks like cousin of cardboard king lot of them settled down with your adopted country with sin loot.

      Not the FCID but karma will follow

  • 4
    0

    Thought it would be better to find some facts before commenting so here I am.there isn’t a bigger alcoholic than their own HHR Kekuwalla UL staff says.so much so he had been black listed from SSC Sinhales Sports Club as he had failed to settle his dues after drinking.interested parties could check.he had crept in to the airline during last regime now plays the ball with the present management to secure his position. Whether he got any HR qualifications is highly doubtful.

    Such people including the ones in the top management, a qualified experienced most of all a well disciplined Senior pilot like Captain Jayasekera who has served the National carrier for more than 27 years,who has a clean record up to date is a threat.Captain jayasekera is referred to a karadarakaraya a trouble maker by the management as he never feared questioning even his superiors when wrong being done.He could do so as he had no skeletons in his cupboard. He made no mistakes in his job. not even had any hard landings which incurred any cost to the Airline for the past 27 years.he would have been a proud man who knew his job 100%
    In this instance it’s obvious that they were gunning at the karadarakaraya to shut him down as his never ending questions on various corrupt activities would have annoyed the top team.
    All of these creates a doubt whether in this particular occasion company was really interested in doing this random breathalyzer test for the safety of their passengers or for their own safety where they would have used this as a tool to eliminate people whom they feared and was a thret to them.you may not believe that the security personnel who participated in this illegal drama that night had been promoted over night for job well done in spite of them not being able to carry out proper procedure.
    Captain Sujith take your turn take them on and tear them apart in a court house as they are the cause of all the losses of our National carrier. these bunch of jokers deserve it for the injustice done to you.

  • 1
    1

    I need to apologize to Capt Sujit Jayasekara, Rohan S & Suren.. It looks like the whole affair was a communication error. Capt Sujit, looks like you are a very good pilot and a principled man. I solute you Sir. You made a mistake and like me a humble apology to your CEO Suren might go a long way. Believe me he is a reasonable man, serving mother Lanka, which I cannot do due to the type of research I do not being available in Sri Lanka.

    I wanted to highlight the reverse discrimination we have because of our colour. Another American who was on transit on the fateful flight was put up at airport garden hotel and I was embarrassed to where we Sri Lankans together with the innocent house maids were taken to in Negambo. I have a 10 year multiple entry visa to the USA and believe me I don’t need that passport as I will be paying taxes to the USA government in addition to my current one. Lot of you seem angry, Why?

    Further more passengers have a right to know about vital information given by pilots. Alcohol and work don’t go to gether unfortunately and rules should be strictly implemented. You don’t need a qualified medical person to perform a simple test a six year old could do, unlike taking blood, an invasive procedure.

    You can bet my last rupee that everyone at Sri Lankan has read this post including our cousins in parliament! Hopefully it will be a lesson learnt and not repeated. Maybe we can see some improvements too, Insha Allah.

    As for the Robin, the ones I know are birds, both feathered and unfeathered. I am Daya with a capital D. After all I t’s English we are talking no? Capt Sujit please accept my apologies again. Maybe I will book my next flight with Sri Lankan.

  • 1
    2

    Yes Daya we all believe & know that CEO Suren is a reasonable man,known to most of our Pilots as he had been a Pilot during Airlanka time.
    The Pilots community would have been the happiest to work with Suren, a fellow Pilot whom they have known from Airlanka time as the CEO of their National carrier.
    The problem is CEO Suren is heading no where with a team with fellows like kekuwalla who is leading him astray,ensureing that they get the best of this regime too.
    I wonder why they took over six months for this inquiry process & that itself displays the efficiency of the HHR and his department. Captain Jayasekera would have been there when CEO Suren flew during Airlanka time, knew each other to some extent. Wonder why they cannot have a dialogue to clear all the doubts,find out who did what and come to a settlement without dragging this on further.
    Speaking to many served & serving employees of SriLankan,none of them have a bad word for Captain Jayasekera and he is regarded as a principled man who fought when wrong being done,even at the expense of his job.
    It is known that captain Jayasekera had gone through similar harassessment even during the last regime when he was the President Pilots Guild,where his personal file ended up on MR’s table at the Temple Trees labelling him as an anti government element.A green light was given to Captain Jayasekera to proceed with his usual righteous manner as MR who had appointed a team to investigate would have found out that it is his nature.MR had been wise enough to understand that they require people of this nature also to pull the sinking Airline through.
    Daya I am sure you will agree with me,that YAHAPALANAYA should do better than that.
    Believe that Captain Jayasekera is on his last lap reaching retirement after a long 42 years of loyal Stainless Aviation Career with Srilankan & SriLanka Airforce.Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

  • 1
    0

    Suren, your wishes mean a lot to me, thank you. I am working on a novel system to deliver cancer medications. If it works we are looking at a new direction of treatment for many such nasty conditions.

    I need a bit of luck though and appreciate your kind wishes. Sadly to some people I am a MODAYA, I am honored. Hey we got to start some where correct?

    I have opportunities to come back, but the comments I read justifies my decision to stay away. I take my hat off to Suren Ratwatte a gentleman for serving step mother Lanka after flying with Emirates for many years.

    Cancelling the massive currupt Airbus order and paying fines must be a bit of a headache. Especially since the family who received commissions is immune from justice thanks to the priminister, whose term should be coming to an end anyway. I am told that he has a bad habit of getting kicked out after 2 years. Happy days!

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