COLOMBO: Sri Lankan authorities have suspended the licence of a pilot of its national carrier who failed a breathalyser test just before the flight, causing a 15-hour delay to 259 passengers.
In a letter addressed to Upendra Ranaweera, the Director General Civil Aviation HMC Nimalsiri said the Airline Transport Pilot License Number ATPL/A/267 issued to Ranaweera was suspended with immediate effect pending further investigations.
Ranaweera was asked to show cause within seven days as to why his license should not be cancelled.
"Upon receiving the results (of the test) SriLankan Airlines took immediate steps to suspend the services of the said captain and took alternative measures to operate the flight to Colombo," the airline said in a statement.
On August 19, the SriLankan Airlines' flight UL 554 scheduled to depart from Frankfurt to Colombo, experienced over a 15-hour delay as the Pilot-In-Command Captain Ranaweera failed a breathalyser test at the airport prior to departure. The airline apologised to its customers for the inconvenience caused and said all passengers affected by the delay have been provided with meals and accommodation and will also be compensated as per EU regulations.
The passengers inconvenienced by this delay stand to becompensated 600 euros each.
The airline said an internal investigation was underway into the incident and it would cooperate with any probe by German authorities.