23 October, 2017

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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Latest comments

  • 17
    17

    Looks like the Pilots Guild has fallen out with their one time colleague!!

    Flying is no Herculean task today. In fact recently in 2016, Jet Blue airline in USA recruited a batch of baggage handlers and some other minor staff to be trained as pilots !!

    Even today most Pilots at Sri Lankan have come through the Airforce or gone overseas with minimum or no AL qualifications.

    • 14
      4

      Not that Jagaths petty comment has any relevance to the article but for your info the “baggage handlers and other staff” that were selected by JetBlue to be trained as pilots were sent to the prestigious Oxford aviation academy complete a 125,000$ training course and those of the lot who were successful at completing their aeronautical engineering degree and flight training were recruited by the airline. So does it really matter what their profession was before they were qualified?
      Feel free to google it yourself juggy.
      Also as I’m aware the minimum requirement to be recruited as a pilot is an MBA degree at all major airlines.
      Everyone is a critic till the plane starts falling out of the sky ;)
      Have a little respect for those men and women flying you safely through the unfriendly skies. Have a great week!

      • 8
        3

        Martin – Well done – thanks for putting petty comments in the correct perspective so we the generality would have a better understanding of the exact context of circumstances.

        • 3
          0

          “”we the generality would have a better understanding of the exact context of circumstances.””
          3rd world SriMao, attitude you can never innovate – hingannage tuvale!!

      • 4
        0

        So Martin, the sure path to become a pilot AND gain an MBA is to start with JetBlue as a baggage handler! But to become the CEO of SriLankan Airlines one only needs political connections!

      • 0
        0

        Martin dont forget that many UL cabin crew members have become qualified flyers who flew as Captains. Again what matter is the qualification and not what job you do?

    • 7
      1

      Do you need A/L to fly an aircraft,?
      Do you A/L to get a driving licence in srilanka?
      You need a good medical with recommended eye sight ,an excellent command in English and should pass a psychometric test as it is mainly about decesstion making above 35,000 feet.Did Albert Einstein pass the A/L?
      Dear Jagath,, please don’t comment further as the readers will see you as an educated dumb!

    • 7
      4

      “” In fact recently in 2016, Jet Blue airline in USA recruited a batch of baggage handlers and some other minor staff to be trained as pilots !!”” Tony leads others follow……………..
      In 2001,The tagline”Now Everyone Can Fly” was a “Tony” Fernandes Air Asia first- Stewards and baggage boys can fly- they just work on dummy(computer simulated) than going anywhere else as Tony did and flew.. Lanka is now The Pirates Guild in the skies.

    • 0
      3

      Why don’t you become a pilot then, if so easy ???

      Anyways, this article is just another stupid (and unnecessary) attack on CT’s favourite aviation bugaboo

      CT, why not start an investigative piece on whether Suren uses TP or Water and critique one or the other as the fancy takes you ? It will be about as useful and informative as this article is.

      The CEO is a qualified pilot, as is the check-pilot

      ’nuff said

      • 3
        1

        “”Why don’t you become a pilot then, if so easy ???”” so much of miris in you that little do you know.stupid buck!
        I admire the albatross that flies without flapping a wing for moths on end.

  • 15
    5

    What has Jagath’s comment got to do with the CT report ? Koheda yanne… .

    Sure man, they really don’t need paper qualifications and doctorates to fly aircraft but they certainly need better hand/eye/foot coordination than you and I !

    Any pilot demanding their own choice of ‘line instructor’ shows signs of underconfidence and is a violation of all regulations! Any violation is considered dangerous in aviation and it’s strange that the DG Civil Aviation and the Manager Ranathunga is impotent

    • 5
      3

      Banu you are buddha god TOAD in the well- how do illiterate men of sri lanka cars and buses and have never met with an accident drive where any foreigner would find it hard to navigate?

    • 2
      2

      Why is it “strange that the DG Civil Aviation and the Manager Ranathunga are impotent”? Banu, wake up – you are in Sri Lanka – a land full of boot suckers with no spine or backbone to stand for what is right, legal, ethical, etc. For fear or favor – without any principles these wimps give in and in return they are promoted, higher salaries, perks and become the blue eyed boy of faggots who make up the cabinet of ministers.

  • 8
    3

    All Lankans are equal (more or less) BUT some lives are more equal.
    Among the more-equals, SriLankan Airlines CEO Suren Ratwatte’s life is much much much more equal than other Lankans. Consider this hypothetical case: If he is NOT on board and there is a mishap, HE will be there to order another plane – perhaps six more and then cancel some! Mind boggles.
    Remember Gotabaya changed a SriLankan Airlines flight and chose his own pilot to fly down a Swiss puppy. The puppy is more equal than humans! Where the bloody hell is the puppy now?
    These are the sort of culture of corruption, nepotism and impunity which has come to haunt us.

  • 17
    3

    Exactly who recruited this lunatic as CEO of Sri Lankan? What was the criteria? How was this guy head-hunted to this critical position? Was he chosen by PM’s pal Suren’s bro Charitha Ratwatte? Isn’t this criminality of the highest order? May I remind Ratwatte criminals, Sri Lankan is funded by impoverished citzens of SL. You are stealing from poorest of the poor? How low can you go? Cheers!

  • 2
    4

    To begin with, there is no rule to say that a CEO can’t fly by the CAA. Unfortunately Capt. Druvi’s presents had captured which is not relevant at all but similar to Capt. Pujitha whilst Mihin Lanka time. Dear author, don’t loose respect and use CT as an ordinary gossip sight! Concentrate more on facts! We require reliable and responsible info not garbage that fulfil personal desires! Happy landings

    • 4
      3

      Mate there’s definitely no rule against a CEO trying to fly aeroplanes. But one would think that a man “supposedly” head hunted (Charitha R’s bro *cough cough) to turn a heavily mismanaged airline back to profitability wouldn’t have the time to be flying aeroplanes, spending days and weeks out of the country and often completely uncontactable??

      Quite frankly I would prefer if he was even washing the aeroplanes in addition to trying to fly them for the 3.5 million rupee salary which the chairman Ajith Dias confirmed he was drawing, but as I “thought” being a CEO was a full time job I regrettably had to give him a pass on that.

    • 5
      0

      Its beyond repair anymore and got to change hands into private sector- Our own Harry J can do it in style and is the top contender. What made Tony Fernandez disappear to Indonesia The Jealous Air force defence and CIA once Dr Mahathir was out and China was being targeted by Obama the tip cut.
      Here’s how Tony Fernandes built a thriving airline with less than a dollar.This article was produced by Credit Suisse and not by the Quartz editorial staff.
      In a little over a decade, Credit Suisse has helped AirAsia grow into Asia’s largest low cost carrier, flying approximately 45 million passengers a year to more than 80 destinations. AirAsia has grown from a Malaysian domestic airline to the largest low-cost carrier in Asia in terms of fleet size and passengers carried. The story of redemption has been truly exceptional: the budget airline has been named the world’s best low-cost airline for seven years in a row, according to the aviation ratings agency Skytrax. And what began with an initial investment of less than a dollar is now an airline group with a market cap of $2.1 billion.
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/srilankan-airlines-ceo-ratwatte-violates-aviation-safety-demands-to-fly-with-hand-picked-check-pilot/comment-page-1/#comment-2115179

  • 2
    0

    Ben Hurling: I don’t this (present) CEO is a lunatic. He was a good and competent pilot in Emirates. In a sense he is not the fit person to be a CEO of an International Airline. Yet, you know how people are selected for “Top Jobs”. In Sri Lanka, the jobs are ranked “Top” or “High”; but the personnel selected need not be “TOP” or “HIGH” profiled through “Connections”. The one and the only most required and the sought after qualification is the CONNECTION to the hierarchy. Then any person is qualified to hold a high position of responsibility. The living past example was the then Chairman of Sri Lankan Airline Mr. Wickramasighe the Brother-in-Law of Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse.

    • 1
      0

      Douglas

      We should have kept the last CEO of previous regime by now we would have rid of the last air craft but still people will fly any destinations with lot of air line touching at BIA also note done renovation for tarmac but latest 380 can’t touch the ground .
      It’s shows how our progress is

  • 2
    2

    What is the big deal? Isn’t he a qualified Pilot, trying to get his license re-validated?

  • 9
    5

    MR appointing brother in law was nepotism.Charitha Ratwatte appointing his own brother is good because he is the most qualified to run a troubled airline. He is well known for turning around loss making institutions !

    What is the meaning of nepotism? How did the appointing authorities exercise their discretion ?

    • 3
      0

      taking folk for suckers at your discretion? The proof of the pudding is its edibility- gone broke while austerity is biting the public.

  • 2
    0

    If Ratwatte’s brother was appointed to fly sri Lankan would have been better than appointing him as the CEO.
    He was no CEO at emirates……….

    So far so good. No mishaps………………. Hope the the flight to Hydrabad would be safe too.

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