In a dramatic move Capt. Rajind Ranatunga mustering courage as the Head of Flight Operations of SriLankan Airlines, officially informed CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte that in no uncertain terms trainees which included himself also in this instance, will not be permitted to select instructors of their preference for training.
Capt. Ranatunga’s message to the CEO came hot on the heels after CEO Ratwatte changed the rosters of the scheduled Line Check Instructors after roster publication and handpicked Capt. Ranga Amadoru to conduct his first Line Check scheduled for 12th July 2017.
Capt. Ranatunga in his email to the CEO informed him that the flight he was scheduled to be checked on was the inaugural commercial flight the airline was to operate to Hyderabad. He went on to advice the CEO that the airline had never rostered any inaugural flights to be operated by trainee pilots, especially with a safety pilot on board.
This entire saga all came to light after CEO Ratwatte had got down his own instructors to conduct Ground School classes, Simulator Training and was on the verge of selecting his own Line Training Instructor too. This is when Capt. Ranatunga pointed out to the CEO that he is the authority pertaining to the Recruitment and Training of pilots and emphasized that it is his responsibility to maintain the standards expected by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.
A few days earlier Capt. Venura Perera the President of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka had officially written to Capt. Ranatunga and had expressed his displeasure and also questioned the airline’s Board of Directors’ unprecedented move in offering CEO Ratwatte a virtual flying scholarship. This is as the entire Board of Directors disregarded the airline’s Pilot Recruitment policy, which eventually cost the tax payer around US $ 50,000. CEO Ratwatte was also exempted from having to face the rigorous intake procedure that all Captains’ usually face in such instances and moreover not having to sign the required bond.
Replying the Pilots Guild letter, Capt. Ranatunga informed them that he was merely following the instructions of the Board of Directors who were politically appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and who represent the majority of the stakeholders of the airline. (Chamindri Karannagoda)