SriLankan Airlines suspends official in pilot dispute over alcohol test

ECONOMYNEXT – SriLankan Airlines said it has suspended an official for a “lapse” in process after he allowed a pilot who refused a breathalyzer test to continue with his flight.

A statement by the national carrier said the pilot who refused the test was suspended and that industrial action by the Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPG-SL) was unfair.

“The company will strictly follow the due process in dealing with this matter,” it said.

The pilots union has announced a ‘work-to-rule’ campaign, protesting against the suspension of the pilot who refused the breathalyzer test, which they maintain was not properly done.

SriLankan Airlines has said their action could disrupt flights.

The latest statement follows:

With regard to a news items reported in the Sunday newspapers SriLankan Airlines wishes to state the following:

SriLankan Airlines refutes the comments by the individual who is quoted in the newspaper article. The Airline wishes to clarify that the issue in question is one of the refusal to follow the Company Procedure which is adopted with the endorsement of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka to ensure safety of passengers and the operation of aircraft.

There was a lapse in the process by immediately not removing the errant pilot from the flight. Even though this was a random check, with no suspicion of the pilot being unfit to fly, he should have not operated the flight after refusal, to go through a Breathalyzer test. The individual concerned in making this flawed decision has also being suspended from duty pending an investigation.

It is very disappointing that the ALPG-SL has chosen to exert pressure on a matter of gross violation of Company procedure by an individual pilot which is under investigation, through industrial action. The Company will strictly follow the due process in dealing with this matter. Accordingly, the Company views the conduct of the ALPG-SL as an unacceptable attempt to subvert the course of justice by industrial action and to try the case in the media. The Airline urges the ALPG-SL to act on this issue responsibly as a professional organization with respect for due process and the confidentiality involved in an ongoing investigation.
(COLOMBO, Sept 12, 2016)





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