SriLankan Airlines pilot â€˜work-to-ruleâ€™ could disrupt flights
ECONOMYNEXT – SriLankan Airlines said a ‘work-to-rule’ campaign by its pilots union, protesting against the suspension of a pilot who refused a breathalyzer test, could disrupt flights.
The Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPG-SL) is demanding the re-instatement of the suspended pilot, identified as Captain Jayasekera, which the airline said is contrary to both aviation regulations and company procedure.
The national carrier said in a statement that it recently re-commenced random breathalyzer tests on flight and cabin crew.
This was subsequent to a recent incident in Frankfurt where a drunk SriLankan Airlines captain was suspended after he failed a breathalyser test just before he was due to fly, causing a costly delay for the airline.
“Subsequent to the recent incident in Frankfurt, SriLankan Airlines in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL), re-commenced random breathalyzer tests on flight and cabin crew,” it said.
“This is a standard procedure in the global air transport industry that is fully approved by the CAASL. SriLankan Airlines uses certified equipment from Germany and trained personnel. The practice had been suspended earlier due to objections from theAirline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka.
“On the night of 27th/28th August 2016, the crew of flight UL 402 were randomly selected for testing. The captain on the flight, Captain Jayasekera, is reported to have refused to take the breathalyzer test.
“As mandated by the CAASL, refusal to take a test is tantamount to a positive reading. As per procedure, Capt. Jayasekera was therefore taken off duties and suspended pending an investigation.
“The investigation into the incident, including detailed statements from the officers involved in conducting the test, will be completed today and forwarded to the company’s Human Resources Division as per the Company’s procedures.
“The ALPG-SL has now commenced a work to rule campaign demanding that Capt. Jayasekera be re-instated. Since this is contrary to both the regulations of the CAASL and company procedure, the Company has declined to do so. Capt. Jayasekera will remain under suspension until such time as the disciplinary process, which is being carried out by an independent Inquiring Officer, is complete. This is expected to be completed by 27th September 2016,” the statement said.
“Numerous pilots have expressed their willingness to support the company, and the ‘work to rule’ appears to be an irresponsible action by a small group of individuals with vested interests.”
(COLOMBO, Sept 9, 2016)