Colombo Telegraph

SriLankan Airlines: CEO Ratwatte Violates Aviation Safety, Demands To Fly With Hand Picked Check Pilot

In a mind boggling aviation first, Capt. Suren Ratwatte, the CEO of SriLankan Airlines has ordered the Crew Scheduling Department to roster a Line Check Instructor of his own choice for his first Line Check Flight scheduled on the 12th July 2017.

The CEO Capt. Ratwatte had cited that he would be more comfortable and happy to have Capt. Ranga Amadoru complete his first Line Check Flight.

CEO Ratwatte

This flight incidentally is the airline’s inaugural commercial flight scheduled to operate to Hyderabad and strangely will now be operated by a three man cockpit crew comprising of a pilot under training and accompanied by a Line Check Pilot and also Safety Pilot to mitigate any unforeseen emergencies.

Earlier in another unprecedented move CEO Capt. Ratwatte got down Captains Pujitha Jayakody Jnr and Rakhitha Wijeratne to conduct Ground Training classes exclusively for him in his office at the World Trade Center.

Meanwhile members of the Pilots Guild expressed their displeasure in CEO Capt. Ratwatte picking and choosing his own instructors and sent in a letter of protest to their Head of Flight Operations Capt. Rajind Ranatunga. (To read the letter click here

Strangely Capt. Ranatunga in his capacity as the Head of Flight Operations has also opted to remain mute and facilitate the CEO’s demands. The stance he has taken in this regard is followed closely on the heels of his predecessor Capt. Druvi Pepera, who also gave into the demands former Rajapaksa regime’s appointed airline management.

Whilst Capt. Druvi Perera attempted to lower the pass marks to accommodate two pilots during the pilot intake during his tenure as the Head of Flight Operations, Capt. Ranatunga currently opts to stay mute and permit the CEO Capt. Ratwatte to violate safety procedures.

Meanwhile Capt. Ranga Amadoru who was once praised in the Weliamuna Report when he along with Capt. Patrick Fernando refused to compromise the airline’s safety training standards in giving into the whims and fancies of the former Rajapaksa regime led Management, has now agreed to his roster being changed to accommodate the CEO’s request. Capt. Amadoru it is reported had earlier submitted his Letter of Resignation in his quest to seek employment with Scoot Air in Singapore. However he later withdrew his Letter of Resignation just before the notice period ended. He is now tipped to be appointed as the Manager Flight Training by the airline’s management.

A member of the Pilots Guild speaking to Colombo Telegraph on condition of anonymity as he his barred from speaking to the media said: “This type of intimidation definitely compromises flight safety. Did the CEO ever try this type of thing when he was employed at Emirates Airline? He boasts that he has an Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University qualification and a so called MBA. Is this a practice that Embry- Riddle encourages? This is a complete violation of aviation safety. At no time is any pilot permitted the luxury of hand picking his own instructor. Even there are some Instructors that even we don’t like to fly with, but you have no choice, you have to fly with the instructor you have been scheduled with. All checks are completed in a professional manner and transparency needs to prevail. I am personally disappointed that whilst we have approximately 40 Line Check Pilots the CEO hand picks Capt. Ranga Amadoru. If that is the practice the CEO wishes to encourage then we should also have the right to pick and choose the instructors we want to fly with. We recruited a CEO to run the business operation of the airline. Chairman Ajith Dias told the Cabinet Ministers recently that the CEO is paid a whopping sum of Rs 3.5 million a month as a salary. We did not recruit him and pay such hefty sums of monies to fly as a pilot. I hope that the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka will intervene in this case now that they will be aware of this”.

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