16 June, 2019

Blog

SriLankan CEO Capt. Ratwatte Ditches Cadet Pilots’ Dreams

Six Mihin Lanka Cadet Pilots whose flight training was abruptly terminated by the newly appointed CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte of SriLankan Airlines, have officially written to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe seeking his intervention to restart their programme.

Suren Ratwatte

Suren Ratwatte

CEO Capt. Ratwatte who secured his job through the means of a nepotistic appointment found fault with the recruitment and assessment criteria used by Mihin Lanka that selected the students of this First Officer programme.

The assessment criteria which was part of the cadet pilot’s recruitment process was conducted by the Alpha Aviation Group whose services had already been used in the past to assess over 70 current pilots flying for Sri Lankan Airlines. This was way before Capt.Ratwatte joined the airline.

The cadets who commenced their training programme on the 10th of July 2015 completed their ground school training on the 28th September 2015 which was incidentally three days prior to CEO Capt. Ratwatte joining Sri Lankan Airlines.

Thereafter their simulator training was halted and they were informed that they were going to be reassessed once again by a different company.

The cadets who had already signed contracts with Mihin Lanka had made payments for the course which was to eventually cost them over Rs 8 million.

Some cadets had even obtained bank loans for this purpose after the contract was signed.

It is yet to be established what the real reason was for CEO Capt.Ratwatte to have made such a decision.

However it is a known fact that eight other cadet pilots who are sons of current senior pilots of Sri Lankan Airlines are awaiting to be enlisted into the national carrier.

We publish below the letter in full which the cadet pilot batch sent to Prime Minister’s Office:

Hon. Prime Minister,

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister’s Office

No: 58, Sir Ernest De Silva Mawatha,

Colombo 07.

Dear Honourable Prime Minister,

CADET PILOT BATCH 05 OF MIHIN LANKA 

We write with reference to the above subject matter and hence initially give you an insight of the entire development of the situation initially. As per the initial advertisement published on local newspapers upon receipt of numerous applications from eligible candidates the initial interview was held on the 07th May, 2015. Upon successful screening from the first interview, the selected candidates were subjected to the secondary evaluation carried out by a very reputed Alpha Aviation Group.

Kindly note the assessment held by Alpha Aviation Group consisted of all professional aspects required and was carried out very thoroughly by the very experienced interview panel. The interview panel was head by two very experienced captains.

As it is evident this whole process is a very thorough screening process and was overlooked and monitored by Sri Lanka’s most experience pilots namely Capt, Pujitha Jayakody and Capt. Themiya Abeywickrama. If required you may pull out our personnel files and see the professional way the screening was carried out.
Eventually upon screening about 40 candidates 06 were selected to follow Trainee First Officer Program. Upon completion of same we were advised to be present at head office on the 06th of July, 2015 to sign the training contract which assures completion of training by Mihin Lanka.

Thereby our initial training began on the 10th of July, 2015 by commencing the ground school phase. Please note we completed the ground school phase successfully on the 28th of September, 2015. Then we were waiting for the next phase of our training which is the simulator phase. But unfortunately the merger of Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka took place in between and we were kept idling around without any information or clarification. During this period we requested for any clarification from Sri Lankan Airlines regarding the training progress. For same we met the Deputy Chief Pilot Training and Standards Captain. Romesh De Silva at his office where he assured that the training department has been taken over by Sri Lankan and the training will proceed as per what we were initially agreed by Mihin Lanka.

All this time we were waiting for any information and when we addressed the officials in charge of training we were given vague answers stating that “We are currently assessing the carder requirement and we will give you all a feedback soon”. Which at that time too sounded very un-professional and very unofficial. Also it is noteworthy we were not kept informed about any of the future planning and proceeding of the training.

Then we were asked to be present for a briefing on the 31st of December, 2015 at the Operation Department of Sri Lankan Airlines. When we went without any information of who is going to be present at the meeting or about what we were going to discuss at the meeting, the CEO came and gave us this shocking news that Sri Lankan will have another evaluation in 06 days to evaluate the 06 of us and upon passing the evaluation the selected will proceed the training. We are well educated enough to know that what Sri Lankan Airlines is planning since they have become excess staff of late. Hon. Minister please note Sri Lankan has been recruiting unnecessarily during the past years. Kindly note in our batch we all have Frozen ATPL, and 04 of us have higher education qualifications and Advanced level (Maths and Physics Requested even by Sri Lankan Airlines during past intakes). Therefore no one can blame us for lack of qualification or lack of professionalism in the recruitment process. But all Sri Lankan Airlines previous intakes have been questioned by many, even the senior captains.

At the meeting on the 31st of December, 2015 we were informed that Alpha Aviation screening process is not professional enough and it has many loop holes. Alpha Aviation is a very reputed organization in UK carrying out screenings for various reputed international airlines. Also it is noteworthy that Alpha Aviation did screening for many years for Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka for many years and over 70 first officers who are flying now are from alpha aviation screening system. This will then eventually suggest who are flying screened out of this system is not eligible and they too should be screened again. It is noteworthy that the CTC Aviation interview panel consisted only of two ladies who has no flying experience. It is our belief that to recruit pilots at least one experienced pilot should head the interview panel.

As per the administration CTC Aviation has already been informed and Sri Lankan Airlines is willing to spend unnecessary government money to re-access us. It is very un-ethical what the administration has done as we were not made aware of any of the progress and at the last minute the administration verbally informed us of what they have decided.

Therefore we sincerely request you considering the unprofessional nature the incident has transpired to allow us to continue our training as agreed by Mihin Lanka, at the acceptance of the agreed charges. Please note we have spent our most important time towards this training and we have psychologically adapted our systems to be pilots.
This is a very bad game which is been played by the Sri Lankan administration and it is clearly to do with the lives and future of young pilots. Please consider to Also at the same time to carry out a thorough investigation on our incident and also previous intakes which will suggest the biased nature of recruitment operated by Sri Lankan Airlines to satisfy Captains and Administrators.

Thanking you and expecting your sincere assistance and advice,

Yours Faithfully,

MIHIN LANKA BATCH 05

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 11
    8

    Pilots putting their sons and People with money buying Pilot positions to drive our A 330s is a worry.

    I might stick with Qatar Airways and KLM now that they are coming to CMB..

  • 15
    2

    I hope our Hon. Prime Minister will intervene and help these your guys, looks like Srilankan Airline’s in a Mess..

  • 9
    2

    The pickpocket called SriLankan Airlines that keeps taking money from the pockets of every Sri Lankan citizen is an enterprise of super bungling. They keep moving from one bungle to another, moneywise as well as every other wise. Almost always each bungle is preceded by some high level of corruption.

    Shut this monstrosity down or privatise it. The corrupt and/or inept political appointees are incapable of running an Airline – period.

    • 3
      3

      BBS Rep,
      You are correct.
      This monstrous white elephant should be scaled down and at least be made a viable entity.
      But, the PM wants the government to absorb its debts, furthering the indebtedness of the nation while many citizens live below the poverty line.

    • 3
      0

      BBS its time before blaming the airline of picking peoples pockets. for the authorities to investigate who was responsible for ordering those massive Air Buses which were awaiting delivery.Ranil is planning to cancel that order which is a good move, and the one or ones who ordered these aircrafts are responsible for the fines the nation has to pay for the cancellation to the manufacturers.Knowing very well that Sri Lankan was in dire straits who then at that time ordered those more unprofitable planes and those persons should be blamed and brought to justice. Credit goes to Ranil for cancelling the order as millions upon millions of peoples funds will have to be paid for these white elephants,but as a consequent the nation may not be able to escape the fines to be imposed.
      This massive fine will have to go via peoples pockets and those who initially placed the order stand blamed and explanations should be called for and necessary action be instituted,

  • 6
    17

    Its sad to note that Capt Suren Ratwatte has been the target of CT for several weeks and now another one.When CT continues this campaign its loses its credibility. When such campaigns are carried out and it seems obvious it gives room for press censorship. Sometimes the media is responsible for creating the scene for censorship. It also creates suspicion whether somebody who doesnt favour Sureen is behind the campaign.
    CT has created a forum for anyone to express its views but in my opinion shouldnt go on a witch hunt on certain individuals.An occasionaal criticism is constructive but a barrage leaves room for lots of doubt

    • 7
      3

      Mr Colin, do tell us what the outstanding qualities, qualifications of this Mr Suren are to be placed in charge of SriLankan.

      Before cancelling the training we believe that Suren R had a duty to justify to the Public and the trainees why he is doing that. Surely SriLankan cannot be administered like it was Suren’s grandmother’s dowry property. That is where Suren disqualifies himself as a desirable / suitable person to run Sri Lankan.

  • 4
    0

    What if international standards were not observed in recruitment of these cadets?

  • 12
    3

    I believe this Ratwatte bloke is related to Chandrika. So this government came to power to prevent appointments based on nepotism and vehemently criticized the actions of the former government during the election campaign.

    Abruptly terminating training is totally unfair for the youngsters and the training should recommenced as planned.

    Is this Yahapalanaya?

  • 9
    15

    Wait…these pilots are responsible for 100s of lives. Nepotism or otherwise Capt. Ratwatte has a proven track record as a pilot both with UL and Emirates.

    If he feels the assessment process is inadequate of flawed in any way I would pay attention.

    • 9
      2

      By that logic, are you suggesting that the pilots who came up with the assessment criteria are less capable than the foul mouthed Ratwatte? In which case, why not protest for their removal, as they too are still in service and are ‘responsible for 100s of lives’?

    • 7
      3

      A donkey and its driver are two different kinds of entities. What logic is that to think that Suren will make an excellent CEO just because he was a Pilot at Emirates? This is nepotism at its worst. It violates the principle of fairness in the Public Administration Process.

      Suren, get the fuck out from Sri Lankan. Your brother being Ranil’s nocturnal partner does not qualify you to be its CEO.

    • 1
      1

      While you have a point the aritcle also mentions that sons of senior pilots are awaiting enrollment into srilankan airlines i wonder if they also have to undergo the new assessment or not ,if they didnt then Surens slip is showing

      But to be fair I/we can clearly see that CT is targeting Suren Ratwatte a lot these days and makes one feel its a personal vandetta? e

  • 5
    4

    You can similarly appoint a bus driver as CEO to CTB.

    • 5
      1

      How stupid you are Dyan to compare a CTB bus driver to a Emirates Pilot who brought fame to Sri Lanka by piloting the Air Bus A380 which carries over 450 passengers. Capt Suren Ratwatte and Capt Suhail Hashim surely brought fame to our country by piloting the A 380 and it was reported that Capt Suhail Hashim had the privilege of flying the inaugural flight of the Air Bus 380 from Paris to Dubai.
      Unless we get out of this type of petty minded mentality our nation will be bogged down while the rest of the countries around us move forward

  • 0
    0

    There is no use running the entire country to save one airline. UL did great under Emirates. There is no doubt by allowing a suitable candidate to take over a run down airline. There are faults in anything but UL seems to highlight that it’s their own fault. Obviously it’s staff related. Planning operationally feasible and viable routes is a must. Maximising operations to sectors that feed a particular route seems right. It’s okay to downsize. Leave thr pride aside. Save 1000s of jobs. Don’t let the entire nation carry the burden of one company. We didn’t loose any pride bcos EK was with us. It made UL a better operator. Please leave politics aside. We are in the 21st century. Act like an intelligent person. Don’t let future generations hate this country.

  • 4
    3

    Suren Ratwatte is Charita Ratwatte, no need to elaborate further the relationship. But it is ok to say, Ranil’s best friend was, is and will be Charita Ratwatte; a devious indidual. They were friends for a long time. Ranil was thrust into power by the election of MS. He said he was dead against nepotism. But actions prove he is no different fro MR and the family. All are dirty and raping our national wealth and the country to keep their families filthy rich and ensure that no other noble citizen ever be elected to control the nation’s destiny.

  • 1
    1

    Sri Lankan airlines flying instructors think, there are the best and their training is the best.It is a halocination in aviation. Sri Lankan airlines is a nothing in aviation that can train 10-12 pilots per year. They don’t like to open another’s door for aviation and always trying to find a fault of Mihin Lanka’s training and talking about the standard.if the selection procedure is so good, how did a foreign pilot Join with a fake license and flew so many years. This ideology makes Future generations dreams become only a dream. They can not understand if Mihin Lanka is a 100% private entity, what is their argument. Will it be same standard or it could be a higher stadard than Sri Lankan.They can not influence Mihin Lanka training affairs. If any trainees are trained by qualified intructors and if they were approved by Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka, how they says Mihin Lanka training is non standard. So far their is no any incident from Mihin Lanka trained pilots but there are so many incidents in Sri Lnakan side. What is the basis for this false and unreasonable allegation from Sri Lankan pilots because they don’t like exsiatance of another training organization for aviation in Sri Lanka. If any body go for statistics, you will find, there are lot of pilots who were rejected by Sri Lankan is working and doing well in reputed airlines. Typical Sri Lankan behavior and attitude of Sri Lankan training department destroy SrI Lankan aviation….Pathetic and all are personal agenda that destroy people money and their life….better close down this loss making useless garbage factory for the benefit of general mass. Why people bear the cost of pilot salary to keep their life good and luxury. they don’t think to do some thing good and forget they are paid by people. If they are high standard pilots , go and find jobs in international market…..

  • 3
    2

    Donkey and its driver all actions of Suren Ratwatte can be compared to a donkey and nothing more than a donkey. Be sure as long as this donkey will be in the driving seat will take to a disaster. Any fool in the government top ranks can understand and they know this.
    APPOINTMENT of GM also another mess and we will wait and see to which Zoo these donkeys are heading to.

  • 3
    0

    An airline’s popularity depends on, on time performance, inflight services, customer service, modern fleet and of course, the ads.
    carry a long way. In our airline, the dirty linen is washed every day in the media and prospective air travellers read them and form a bad opinion of the airline. There is in fighting going on in every dept. and flight operation dept.is often discussed and Pilots guild makes the biggest noise, right or wrong. This creates an impression in the minds of the air travellers that the aircraft they fly are not in the safe hands of experience pilots as the Pilots guild talks about nepotism in selection of cadet pilots, who does not have the required
    qualifications and some junior pilots are given command of bigger air
    craft
    If the govt. is interested in retaining the reputation of our airline,
    they should not waste time in selecting a partner and hand over the
    administration to them so that no more dirty line is washed in public.

    • 0
      2

      An airlines performance, and its ability to attract customers, depends on only one thing: price, price, price. Everything else is secondary, provided it does not have a reputation for falling out of the sky.

  • 1
    1

    Avoid Sri Lankan like the plague……there is too much going on there, thankfully, many other major airlines fly to Colombo now.

  • 0
    1

    How about inviting Sajin Vas Gunawardane to open his “Flight Training School” once again? He too recruited “Cadet Pilots” and charged million of money and did an “excellent” job of producing “Pilots” during the MR regime. Who knows that this could be an attempt to “recommence” the operations of that “Flight Training School”. This Sajin is a “Higher Flier” once again with the present Government. This Alpha Aviation Group will be replaced with “Cosmos” of Sajin.

  • 2
    4

    Finally CT has given prominence to yet another corrupt move by ULs foul mouth CEO. Well done CT for exposing this tragedy brought upon a few budding local pilots. If I may add a few points here, this particular batch consisted of just six local trainee pilots who had paid a vast amount of money to MIHIN to train them, over ten months prior to their sudden cancellation. So they lost their money and almost a year of ground training when they were arbitrary dismissed go no known reasons. Would some of those commenting here have tolerated such insensitive and arrogant behavior had it been your own sons and daughters affected ? They had a valid contract with MIHIN Lanka so how can an idiot of a CEO just throw them out based on yet another ‘check’ ? Think about it buddies. Does it sound right for you guys ? Shame on your intelligence if you think so.

    For some here, flying an A 380 is magic. Yes it is, for simple minds but the fact is, larger the aircraft the easier it is to fly it ! There’s no magic there so please don’t hero worship a pilot unnecessarily unless he did something extraordinary that saved many lives. By this single act, this loud mouth has destroyed a few lives and very few had picked that fact. It is distressing to read the thoughts of simple minds here.

    The question on our lips should be ‘how can this be correct’ ? Not that this monkey was a A380 pilot so what he did is correct ! My foot. Why these budding pilots waited all this time without filing a FR is the next quiestion. Either they were not advised to do so or naively believed what Rajind Ranatunge said that “all you guys will be ok, just sit for another test” ! And then they were failed. He himself joined UL from the back door (under aged and unqualified but the son of a General ?). And this is what he does now. Pathetic

    The two management pilots whom these naive trainees crow about, Capts Pujitha Jayakody and Themiya Abeywickrema need no introduction! The worse types around unfortunately. They are the ones who should’ve had the guts to stand up to this unfair treatment and fought their corner. But did they do that ? NO

    • 0
      0

      Wenura has sense in the start of his comment. But towards the latter part, it sounds like a person who got kicked out from the Mihin Lanka. You should not be a hypocrite -LW. When this matter came up, None of the Mihin management had control over it as the former Director Operation had lost his position and the former Chief Pilot had already left the job knowing the calamity.

      So the blame should clearly go to Srilankan for making the moves! End of the day we only will strive upon our jobs.

  • 2
    1

    If suren is an excellent CEO why did emirates have Tim Clark as their boss with no flying experience …with in 10 months any one can Have CPL to get a diploma it takes nearly 1.5 years…it’s not rocket science to fly an Aircraft…so for suren they are nothing…

  • 3
    1

    If suren is an excellent CEO why did emirates have Tim Clark as their boss with no flying experience …with in 10 months any one can Have CPL to get a diploma it takes nearly 1.5 years…it’s not rocket science to fly an Aircraft…so for suren they are nothing….

  • 0
    0

    what about the last intake…

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.