20 October, 2017

SriLankan Airlines: Disregarding President Sirisena’s Promise Chairman Sacks Pilot

Amidst prevailing tension mounting between the Management of SriLankan Airlines and the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka which even warranted the intervention of the country’s President Maithripala Sirisena, Capt. Sujith Jayasekara’s services with the national carrier was terminated yesterday, barely a week prior to the conclusion of his year ending contract.

Chairman Ajit Dias

The Pilots Guild meeting the President of the country on behalf of Capt.Jayasekara only served to precipitate his termination, despite President Sirisena’s assurance to the ALPGSL that he would help resolve their existing disputes with the airline’s management, one of which was the unfair treatment meted out to their fellow pilot Capt. Jayasekara.

Capt. Sujith Jayasekara a senior pilot, who served the Air Force during the civil war, went on to serve SriLankan Airlines as a commercial pilot in an overall aviation career that spanned over four decades. He will now be deprived of many benefits by the management of the airline which is accorded to those who serve until retirement.

His termination is viewed by members of the Pilots Guild as an act of pure vindictiveness which was orchestrated by premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointees Chairman Ajith Dias and the CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte and supported by Capt. Rajind Ranatunga the Head of Flight Operations.

Incidentally Capt. Sujith Jayasekara is the third pilot who has lost employment since the Yahapalanaya government took control of the country.

The other two Pilots Capt. Charles Sirimanne and Capt. Uditha Danwatte of Mihin Lanka, which comes under the purview of the SriLankan Airlines management, along with Capt. Sujith Jayasekara have now been punished for highlighting mistakes made by the management of the airline.

Whilst Capt.Sujith Jayasekara questioned a flawed breathalyzer test procedure that was carried out, Capt. Charles Sirimanne pointed out a life threatening safety violation that Mihin Lanka was deliberately overlooking on their flight into Seychelles. In Capt.Uditha Danwatte’s case the airline’’s management made such a serious blunder, they went on to prematurely terminate him wrongfully for an alleged fault he was eventually cleared of by UK authorities. Fearing that Capt.Danwatte would prosecute the airline due to the utter dismal decision made by the management of the airline, he was recalled by the Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawala who offered the then First Officer the rank of a Captain and a posting with Mihin Lanka to compensate for their blunder. He accepted his command title and took the post. Subsequently with the two airlines’ merging with the closure of Mihin Lanka, many pilots were absorbed into SriLankan Airlines barring Capt. Uditha Danwatte. Now whilst the management of the airline continues to violate the country’s Air Navigation Act 208/209 by providing expatriates jobs as pilots whilst depriving many Sri Lankan nationals employment, Capt. Uditha Danwatte has gained employment elsewhere with a foreign airline.

A member of the Pilots Guild speaking to Colombo Telegraph in anonymity as he is not permitted to speak to the media said “ In order to cover their tracks, the management of the national carrier opted to silence these flyers forever. If the Management could have acted so swiftly disregarding even our country’s President Maithripala Sirisena, then this proves that they could do whatever they want. How can Chairman Ajith Dias disrespect our President Maithripala Sirisena? Who is he to do that? This is a dangerous precedent that he has now set. I am surprised that Ministers Kabir Hashim and Nimal Siripala De Silva along with the Director General of the Civil Aviation are turning a blind eye to all of this. Nowhere in the world do you find any airline terminating their pilots for highlighting management mistakes. We are certainly extremely very disappointed with our Chairman Ajith Dias and CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte and our Head of Flight Operations Capt. Rajind Ranatunga who have now simply lost the plot”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    11

    Any institution head or the chairperson should have the power to sack any person when it is the suitable thing to do. If the president involves in it that is politicization of that institution.

    As this aarticle explains, most probably the third capton to be fired looks had a drinking accusation. Besides, the article is asking the involvement of two more ministers which the that air line ungovernable because of political influence. On the other hand, captons in an air line should be veru disciplined. but, Sri lankan air lines captons are not that so. We here very often, drunk captions getting caught, sexcapades of mile high club inside the plane. that is not a diescilinped work force. I am sure they are paid well too. Why all these problesm and they can not do their job properly.

    This capton who was working to the airforce may have some problems with social skills. But, how can those neglected when it is a commercial air line.

    anyway, I?f the chairman doe snot have the power or rights to fire any employee and if the president and two ministers come to sve it is not work working for that air line as the boss.

    Instead of complaining it to the news blog, they have a right to inform the higher officials of the ministry and not directly the president or the ministers about the destrucitve managment of the chairman.

    • 5
      5

      Dear Mr Softy,
      ” On the other hand, captons in an air line should be veru disciplined. but, Sri lankan air lines captons are not that so. We here very often, drunk captions getting “

      Please use the spell-checker on your PC. Ask your kids if you don’t know.

      • 0
        4

        romani:

        got really pi$$ed off ha.

        My keyboard has a problem. I know.

      • 8
        2

        Romani, good one mate. jim shitty never went to school and he does not know what a spell checker is. He also does not have children since he could not find one woman who was stupid enough to marry this fool. Jim shitty is a human arse with a goat brain.

  • 16
    7

    The best that the government could do is to sack the entire lot and close this curse down before a terrible crash occurs.With ageing pilots and stewardesses who are growing taller horizontally,something bad is about to happen.

  • 12
    1

    Is this a political game played by the Pilots Guild to discredit Maithiri and Ranil and to bring back MaRa regime ?

    Is the Pilots Guild putting the country first ? National career’s future is important or winning political games are important ?

    Can this not be settled by Industrial Arbitration or Court of Law ?

  • 9
    4

    Think the writer has lost the plot, where have you heard that a president of a country gets involved with this type of drama. All the articles and comments are from people who have issues with UL. Grow a pair…

  • 16
    2

    Mr president.
    close down the bloody air line which is sucking people’s blood and let thieves who do not know how to run buissinesses, the Chairman Ajith Dias, Suren Ratwatte and Rajind Ranatunga fly kites.

  • 3
    0

    ALPGSL

    Where do you go now ? your members surely have competency in flying but your political nous is found wanting.Isnt it ?

    Caught now between a Rock and a Hard Place I presume

  • 13
    2

    Entire Sri Lankan airline management should be changed with bright young educated honest hardworking 21st century type brains of patriotic Sri Lankans be given the task and I am pretty sure they will do a wonderful job Insha Allaah. immaterial of their ethnic background should be appointed. The aggrieved pilots should be paid substantial compensations and henceforth be reinstated. Honor and dignity of every individual should be safeguarded. Pointing out blunders committed by the management, where safety issues are at stakes should be encouraged and accepted with open arms, if not, the unbroken record of our airlines, can be compromised God Forbids.

    • 4
      0

      “Entire Sri Lankan airline management should be changed with bright young educated honest hardworking 21st century type brains of patriotic Sri Lankans “

      Noble wish. But where do you find people with all those attributes ? even in the remotest chance of finding some they would certainly serve the country better being at Diyawannawa rather than at SriLankan Airlines

  • 6
    0

    Very good situation.All these Captains thought they could run the airline.

  • 9
    0

    Here is a thought… how about leaving the management decisions to the management without politicians getting involved. Isn’t that yahapalanaya? If the persons sacked is not happy I’m sure there is adequate legal recourse against the company. How is this even a fair and balanced article? Where is the management response? Sigh…. this is the so called journalism in this country

  • 3
    0

    bright young educated honest hardworking 21st century type brains of patriotic Sri Lankans ” OH CAN FIND PLENTY OF THEM IN DIYAWANNA… PEOPLE THERE KNOW EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING. EVEN GET DECORATED BY OVERSEAS UNIS.

  • 4
    0

    Jim whoever is on a trip against the Air Force claiming they have no social skills while another clown here claims that the management should be in the hands of professionals ?! We have witnessed many who never served their country (non military types) who were absolutely anti social so please speak with statistics. If the air force rejected your application in the past, they had good reasons for doing so.
    The other guy who speaks of leaving the management in the hands of professionals should do his homework before commenting here. There are no professional aviation management types in the board of directors and by seeing what’s going on there the highest of the land should’ve acted much earlier. It’s bleeding our hard earned money while these clowns have a ball.
    Those who comment loosely, Wake up !
    The actions mentioned here is based on revenge and all staff are fully aware of this.
    Capt Jayasekera is the only person who had the guts (and the balls) to stand upto corrupt managers in the past and this is how this Yahapalanaya under Ranil & Kabir has acted …..

    • 2
      2

      Waruna:

      The other guy who speaks of leaving the management in the hands of professionals should do his homework before commenting here. There are no professional aviation management types

      What is aviation management type ?. do you think only a pilot is qualified to manage an airline ?

      Anyway, it looks Sri lankan airline employees are very indisciplined the way here. If not, why planes are dealyed because pilot was drunk or some people had a “mile high club” type drama and it was videod. that is not professional either for professionals.

      show us examples where airline management was only from pilots.

  • 2
    0

    Let the organization decide who to keep, and whom not to keep. More than skills, team building is more important in any business.

    Even if an employee is skillful and honest but doesn’t fit the team, it becomes an attitudinal issue and skills won’t help the team or organization. Ultimately skills can be developed, not the attitude.

    President should know his boundaries or what is the difference between MR?

  • 4
    1

    The pilot in question violated by not complying to a breathalyser test protocol all airlines adopt. His conduct is a threat to flight safety and should not be condoned at any cost. he must have been under the influence of liqour and thought fit to avoid it. His so called service to the nation has no relevance as he left in his own accord for financially lucrative career. If all other srilankan pilots can comply why this guy needs exemption

    The three pilots sent out were due to indiscipline. the chairmen is absolutely right in kicking this guy out. safety of the passengers should not be allowed to be compromised.

  • 4
    1

    Why go behind politico to save the jobs.Dont you guys feel shamed to seek cheap help. Where were you guys (APGSL) when cadets training were terminated,They were not given a chance to prove their innocence? Remember some Cadets did not go behind politico (crying) to save the jobs like you guys doing at the moment. They left with dignity and did not beg like you guys. You buggers with more bars on your shoulder with jet hours ,deviate from runaways, crash taxi way lights, get suspended, incident reports then start flying again and looking for political clouds to continue your profession and make cheap effort tog et your son’s and daughters into the Airline as well. What a shame.just remember some Cadets with just one bar and no jet hours had dignity and integrity when they left the company and they were not cheap like you.Shame on upul guys.

  • 1
    0

    Let us be fair minded and impartial. This article doesn’t specify on what charge /charges this Pilot was found guilty, as a result, it is not possible to assess whether the punishment was appropriate. Some time back, when this incident took place, another writer to this page, viz. Mr. Rajeewa Jayaweera stated the charges contained in a “charge sheet” given to this pilot. If I remember correct that charge sheet did not contain an accusation of being under influence of liquor; but “challenging” the procedure of testing for drunkenness. Please note, in spite of that being the case, this pilot was ALLOWED to operate the flight which I think must be a very serious lapse and the relevant personnel for such decision making must have been subjected to a more serious disciplinary action than this very pilot.. I also remember, this pilot was not allowed to operate the return flight and he was brought back to Colombo as a passenger. So he was grounded on “second thought” and that could be well challenged in another forum. How this “second thought” came about could have been also a “second thought” on the part of the Security Personnel (perhaps on instigation by someone in authority)l who were detailed to do the spot checks on the pilots; as otherwise they should have immediately notified the Flight Operations Dept. and would have resulted in withdrawal from the flight. I also remember Mr. Jayaweera stating that this pilot was “charged” with “misdemeanour”, which I believe is a “minor crime” that does not warrant a harsh punishment like “termination/dismissal”. However, “IF” the circumstances are like these, this employee pilot will definitely seek redress in a Court of Law. If that happens, it would be a very interesting case to watch and study. Let us wait and see the developments.

  • 0
    0

    That’s what happens when you think speaking to President can resolve all issues. Great decision indeed. SriLankan must restore decipline. Pilots are just pilots. Don’t let them hold any management positions in future.

    Ps: Those who helped to brought RR only statement I have to ask is “dan sapa daaaa????”

  • 0
    0

    This is a one sided article. Also not balanced reporting. Everyone who was in the forces are called “Ranaviru.” Sujith Jayasekere was former President Premadasa’s Helicopter Pilot. As I remember 20 years ago he was a Good flyer. But, so was Upendra Ranaweera, the Pilot who came drunk on board in Frankfurt.
    The main issue here is, “was he drunk or not on that particular day when he operated the flight to Bangkok.
    Remember Ranjan Pakianathan, the reputed Squadron Leader whose Antonov 32 sank in the Negombo lagoon with 75 commandos on board? Well, he was flying after a very late night and after quite a few alcoholic beverages. It is the truth which must be unearthed.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.