By Frederica Jansz and Dinouk Colombage –
Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa went berserk when contacted by The Sunday Leader to clarify and find outif he was aware that the management at SriLankan Airlines had taken a decision to change a wide bodied A340 scheduled to fly to Zurich on Friday July 13, to a smaller A330. The change was to be made so that a SriLankan Airline pilot, who is dating a niece of President Mahinda Rajapaksa could personally fly the aircraft that would carry a ‘puppy dog’ for Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa from Zurich.
The Sunday Leader was told by senior airline pilots that 56 passengers would have had to be off-loaded if the aircraft was changed.
The pilot concerned is Capt. Praveen Wijesinghe who currently is dating Flight Officer Madini Chandradasa, the niece of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. When asked, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, while denying that he had any knowledge that CEO Kapila Chandrasena had ordered the change of aircraft from an A340 to an A330 as Capt. Wijesinghe was not qualified to fly the bigger aircraft, admitted that Capt. Wijesinghe would indeed be ‘passengering’ on one sector so he could bring down the dog for his wife. “Yes they are bringing a puppy – it is for my wife. There is nothing wrong with that. I have every right to bring not just a dog but an elephant on SriLankan if I so wish – I am paying for the cargo. I have every right to bring anything I want. This is not the first time – before this also they brought a dog for me…what is wrong – I am paying for the cargo I have every right,” Rajapaksa said.
When it was pointed out that bringing the dog was not the issue – but a loss of revenue for the airline as an entire aircraft was to be replaced with a smaller bodied plane – resulting in the loss of 56 passengers, Rajapaksa turned abusive.
Using foul language he screamed, “If you write one bloody word I will sue the writer and your newspaper – which I have already done – I am not afraid of the bloody courts – I will sue you and shut down your f……. newspaper.” (click here for full conversation)
The Sunday Leader was told that the decision to change the aircraft scheduled to fly to Zurich on Friday July 13, from an A330 back to an A340 was made only after members of the Pilots’ Guild vehemently protested to the Head of Flight Operations Capt. Navin de Silva.
However, both Capt. Ruwan Withanage, President of the Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) and Capt. Navin de Silva subsequently denied that senior pilots had pressured the management into reverting on their original decision to fly an A330 instead of an A340 to Zurich to suit Capt. Wijesinghe so he could bring down the puppy.
Kapila Chandrasena, Chief Executive Officer for SriLankan Airlines when first contacted refused to answer any questions on this issue over the telephone but asked for an email to be sent. After this was done, he replied saying he would request the Manager of Crew Resources to respond to our email.
Instead, Ranjith de Silva, Senior Manager Corporate Communications, sent us a response which said, “aircraft allocation to routes are based on the flying range. A330/A340 aircrafts are generally used for long range travel.” He added that generally an A330 or A340 is deployed on the European routes, while the change in the aircrafts is based on the commercial requirements.
He refused to comment on whether or not a dog for Rajapaksa was to be transported on this flight.
Kapila Chandrasena however subsequently did speak with us reiterating that he knew nothing of this matter. Asked if he did not know about the puppy dog to be brought down from Zurich for the Defence Secretary he said, “No. I know nothing – I don’t know what this controversy is all about”.
Asked if at any stage a decision was taken to change an A340 scheduled to fly to Zurich on Friday July 13, to an A330 in order to accommodate Capt. Praveen Wijesinghe to fly to Zurich, Chandrasena replied, “we do make those decisions based on passenger load – and that we do all the time though usually it is an A340 that flies the second leg from the Middle East to Zurich”.
It was to ascertain the veracity of this story that we contacted not only SriLankan Airlines officials but the Defence Secretary as well to find out if he was aware of this situation.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa confirmed that indeed Capt. Praveen Wijesinghe was to travel on July 13 to Zurich to bring down a puppy dog for his wife. “He is a friend of mine and he offered to do so,” Rajapaksa said.
However, Capt. Wijesinghe contradicted Gotabaya Rajapaksa by saying, “No, I do not even know if we would be bringing a dog from Zurich to Colombo. That sort of information is not known until the day of the flight.”
Wijesinghe after making this pronouncement telephoned us again to warn us saying, “If nothing but the truth is reported about my girl friend or myself, I will be forced to take legal action.”
The fact is, Capt, Wijesinghe is rostered to fly the first leg of this journey – Colombo – Kuwait or Doha (the middle eastern destination is decided depending on the passenger load) on an A330 and from thereon passenger on an A340 to Zurich.
Wijesinghe admitted to The Sunday Leader that he was indeed recently rostered to fly an A330 on the first sector from Colombo to Kuwait or Doha on Friday July 13. He said he would fly the initial sector up to the Middle East and thereafter travel the rest of the journey as a passenger. “I will only be flying the A330 leg, while the A340 will be flown by someone else.” He further said that he is not qualified to fly an A340 and if he did he would be facing a possible jail term.
bo / July 7, 2012
I think this woman Jansz is making up stories around disjointed bits of information to suit her own imaginations and to create sensation for commercial purposes/ benefits of her own.
She did a similar mess to General Fonseka and sent him to jail, after Gota bought her story. Now, natural justice cathces up with Gota, and he has become a victim of this poison penned woman.
There might have been a personal and domestic level agreement between wijesinghe and Gota family about a dog, but I certainly cannot see an issue of switching aircraft to accomodate wijesinghe’s current clearance to fly.
It seems either a A330 or an A340 would be flown in the Colombo-Mid East-Colombo sectors, and most likely an A340 is flown in the Mid East-Zuric-Mid East sectors. Rostering of pilots according to availability, and allocation of the type of aircraft according to the passenger load/ sector is purely an operational/ commercial issue. I certainly cannot see someone switching aircraft just because Wijesinghe is not qualified to fly an Airvus 340. Wijesinghe featuring in this saga is simply a coincidence.
I am certainly not supporting Gota, Wijesinghe or the dog, but as someone has an interest in aircraft operations, I really see nothing wrong with what SLK Airlines operational staff had done. I have no connection with SLK Airlines either.
This woman Jansz is trying to set fire to water through her wicked ways. I think it is about time she is banished to Australia or wherever she has come from and withdraw her right to work in Sri Lanka. Better still, send her to prison for spreading malicious gossip and defamation of people’s names.
Hema / July 7, 2012
Hey Bo /boru/
Talk what u know, read this; WikiLeaks:Fonseka Did Discuss The “White Flags Story” with US
bo / July 8, 2012
Some of us can think for ourselves independently without the support of theatrical props. Quoting a link is not a proof when at the end of the link is a known garbage producer Writing on the internet are not always the truth; these days anyone can create and concoct information and place them on a webpage to create sensation. Naturally some fall for them, and it becomes their truth.
gamini / July 8, 2012
Bo or Ba, we readers can assess the TRUTH without you having to put your two cents worth. You want to eat pig shit by all means do so but avoid public display.
gamini / July 8, 2012
This News is not only in the Web but printed in the Sunday Leader and Gota can take Legal action as threatened. It appears that things are coming to a Grand Finale.
Kalpana / July 8, 2012
Seems that Sri Lankan Airlines is indeed a family business and – employment income generation activity for the Hambantota thugs: the niece is a flight attendant, the brother in law of mahinda rajapakse, a former planter who has no qualifications or technical expertise, its Chairman. Meanwhile the Sri Lankan airline costs tax payers huge amounts and in the red to the tune of billions, and is borrowing more loans from Mid east banks with garuntees from the Central Bank run by the criminal clown Cabraal.
When Emirate Ran Sri Lankan it was not such a mess and a drain on the tax payer. What a Banana republic the wonder of Asia has morphed into. Meanwhile the opposition UNP and JVP seem to be asleep the latter spouting racist platitudes rather than addressing the root of the problem – the Hambantota thieves who are running Lanka!
James Bond / July 8, 2012
The Name of the Game is FAMILY MILITARY BUSINESS. Wake up! The captain of SL Airlines to fly the plane was from the Air Force, he is dating a Rajapakse family member. Sri Lanka Airlines Chairman is the Rajapakse Brother in Law.
This is why Rajapakse took over Sri Lankan from Emirates Airlines so that they could turn in into a family business and transfer public wealth into private hands – their hands – LEGALLY. Militarization ensure s that Rajapkses’s looting of the SRI LANKAN PEOPLE can be done without challenge to the Rajapakse family.
Dr Arun Vincent / July 8, 2012
If so, why you are hiding behind a false name. Are you afraid of Jansz? Journalists do not kill only politicians do.
GoobahyaGotha / July 9, 2012
You mention that Fedricka should go back to the country she came from. Cant do idiot, She was Born in Sri Lanka of Sri Lankan parents and is As much a Sri lankan as you fool
Its idiots like you how know bothing of the History of our land that causes all the Shit. Join Gotha and go to the dogs.
Kalal Bariya / July 8, 2012
Gota gone wild…………..Gota’s wife is in Puppy Love.
You guys should make public the recording if you have. This is unacceptable behavior from Secretary of Defense of Sri Lanka.
This idiotic secretary should know he is a public servant and answerable to people of Sri Lanka through the Media Journalists. Journalist’s jobs are to investigate, questions and inform their readers.
Please expose this idiot’s uncontrollable burst of anger. He cannot no longer act as he owns Sri Lanka and talk to its citizens in filth.
Sunil de Silva / July 8, 2012
What dog for Gota’s wife???
Gota himself is a dog and a killing dog.
Gowrie / July 8, 2012
If he is a dog, what is his wife Sunil? Do NOT disgrace the harmless dogs by calling these murderous filthy bunch as “dogs”.
samson / July 8, 2012
Quiet agree. This is how GR always behaves. Be it to the BBC or any others, he has FURTHER proved that he is a not a professional comparable to any counterparts, but the appointment is just a deal within family. As it was lately cleared by some others, there is no secretary of defence position according to SRILANKEN constituition either. But to many who s been the war hero – if even lacks of state funds are being abused for their use- not a matter to just worry. Anyway, how long this can go is the question I raise here. Almost any neutral media publish articles against the abuse of all sort by the current regime – this was almost comparable to the system that Gadapi´s totalitarian regime until it is broken recently.
Piranha / July 8, 2012
Its not Ms Janz but Gota who is full off F……g s..t. This rowdy had the temerity to scold a female journalist in filth. He needs to be taught some manners. I wonder if he has given up his US green card!
Donald J Gnanakone / July 8, 2012
God makes people go mad before he destroys them.
This is shameful and disgraceful conduct, but nobody can say anything of dare question him. Not even the President.
This is Welcome and “Have a Taste of Paradise”.
Can we imagine what he did against the LTTE and the White Flag surrenderees? All this over the transport and import of a puppy dog which anyway is not illegal and no big deal. Why did he go crazy?
I guess, all the pressure and this war criminal issue is getting to him. He is still a US citizen and not a green card holder. Anyway, it does not matter. US still has jurisdiction because he was a US citizen when the War Crimes were violated as per US and international.
It is crazy behavior. Frederica would not print it if it was not true and that she had recorded it. She got the “sound bites” and answers she wanted.. Good Journalism!!!
Gowrie / July 8, 2012
Shameful and disgraceful conduct indeed Gnanakone!!!!!
ZELANIKA / July 8, 2012
This my territory,even though i have foreign pass port.this is my land given by some body as dowry , my brother is the king of this land, his son is the crown prince, we support kudu business, we have licensed killers,
So we have power and money,
fools vote for us ,
and we have 600 family members in the government pay roll, eating people’s money
Who are you to ask fxxxxxg qustions.
you bxxxxrs go and fly kites.
we will do what we wants.
ZELANIKA / July 8, 2012
We know who are eating People’s Shit
Sunil / July 8, 2012
Gota is an uneducated and uncivilized thug and also a killing machine. If you see most of his interviews, this is purely his language and whenever he gets angry with the journalists the word “KILL” comes from his mouth. I wonder how such an idiot and a stupid thug is doing the DS job. He wants to kill everybody who speaks against him, and also for anything and everything he says you are trying to split the country.
The problem is majority of Sri Lankans are fools who will appreciate anything that thugs like Gota say and do.
rav / July 13, 2012
You are right, Most of the SL’s are fools to believe these idiots. The main problem with our people is they are not thinking about the country, thinking about the party only. They don’t want to accept any of wrong doings of government ministers.
What a shithole is SL when we think about these….
රාල / July 8, 2012
One thing is really true that no one like Ms Janz and her reporting..
Mr Rajapaksha had used correct words to address such person… its normal to use friend’s contacts to get things done… that’s nature of humans.. Mr Rajapaksha affirmed that he will pay so what’s the issue??.. Arrangement of pilots administrative task of Sri Lankan Airline. .. Customer (Mr Rajapaksha) doesn’t need to care about that..
will you ask about the pilot and his qualifications when you buy a are tickets?? its reputation of the airline..
Sri Lankan / July 11, 2012
Why are you not even showing your pseudo identity?
So scared to express your comment?
Des / July 8, 2012
FJ is load of shit, if she has no other events to report but about a Puppy then you are the [Edited out]in this event. Sorry woman you have a long way to become a reporter before becoming a journalist.
Remedy / July 8, 2012
Hmm…. By reading the whole story I also really think the writer is an absolute idiot. There are so many thing happening all over the place and the guy found a puppy to write something. God ! Get a life you idiot. I suggest you to change the career… lol.
mayasl / July 8, 2012
This is not about a puppy. This article is about the 56 passengers who were left off due to the aircraft change.
How would you have felt, if you were one of that 56? Cheaper than a puppy, huh? ;)
raymond / July 8, 2012
It appears GOATA’S wife (pictured above) just returned home from Saudi Arabia on “vacation”. Maybe, she could serve her husband with some of his favourite dishes??
Ponniah Mahalingam / July 8, 2012
LOL, Sunday Leader. Nice fodder for the usual crowd.
gamini / July 8, 2012
The exposure in the Sunday Leader is very welcome for all to understand this overated SOB, who thinks no end of himself, except for the apologists who are in the habit of eating Pigs shit.
Paul / July 8, 2012
What puppy is going to do to Gota’s wife, is what Gota cannot able to do to his wife. I mean what Gota was use the word in the interview.
raymond / July 9, 2012
He should import a Alsatian dog to satisfy his wife’s biological needs. Gota can also enjoy eating dog shit!!
TISSA / July 9, 2012
This lady janz is hell bent on destroying Srilnka’s image,I hope she never ever returns to Srilanka,she is not a good journalist because her articles though some are factual,are written mostly laced with hatred with an intention of tarnishing an image of a person or a government,she is an expert in bungling things because she doesn’t have an ounce of brain,to anticipate the consequences of what she is writing,in Srilanka a rising number of people have become anti janz,& are praying to god not to allow her to return to Srilanka.
GoobahyaGotha / July 9, 2012
I think you too do not know that Fredricka Jansz was botn in Sri lanka, and is as much Sri Lankan as you and me. Jansz is not a Aliean name, its aname that has been in Sri lanka for over 600years and adapted from the Portugese, similar to Perera and Fernand and Fonseka. Either comment correct Learn or Shutup
JULAAMPITYE AMARAYA / July 9, 2012
I am Feeling very sorry for this puppy, what he is gong to undergo with this family and what type of acts to do,
because, it is going to preform some kind of a job that family canot do.
so we can propose to import more dogs to ruling family members [Male AND FEMALE ]canceling swiss bound passenger plane loads.
this secretary to defence should have told that journalist woman
“””” NO COMMENTS REGARDING MY WIFE AND DOG”””””.
withoyt making a big fuss.
ackp / July 9, 2012
This is seems a good place for tiger supported tamil diaspora..:) nice nice way to go…:)
Blaster / July 9, 2012
So you SL guys are feeling the heat of Rajpakse. You guys were jumping up and down 2 years back. Sorry brothers, nothing can save you from the Rajpakse clan. Nothing. God Save you.
Udugampola / July 9, 2012
Fedrica, can you upload the conversation you said to have had with the Sec./Defe: on the net, and let the readers to decide, otherwise I am personally a bit reluctant to believe this. I hope so do the other readers too.
Kudu Singapore Duminda / July 11, 2012
The nation has indeed gone to the dogs. Apologies to all the well behaved dogs(the few that exist).
hansan / July 13, 2012
Dogs always like to lick any thing. Every one love licking Dogs.
grant prosser-wise / July 13, 2012
As a UK national but with Sri Lankan heritage, and taking frequent (twice yearly) flights to Sri Lamka, Sri Lankan Airlines is a disgrace. Forget the dog, this clearly shows that the airline is in chaos, and needs to be de-nationalised to succeed.
Every single flight I have taken has been a catalogue of disasters and the aircraft are not of a standard required for the One World Alliance. The staff are great, its just the aircraft are old, and really set Sri Lanka in a bad light. As a flag carrier, Sri Lankan airlines leaves people questioning the safety of their aircraft – if it cant fix in-flight entertainment, people are left feeling how safe are the aircraft generally.
I bring lots of business to Sri Lanka and I’m ashamed to say every time, I recommend they use an alternative airline, so as to be assured safety, comfort, and assurance that they are not lining the pockets of the the regime.
LAL / July 14, 2012
THESE BASTARDS MUST DRAG ON TO THE STREET LIKE GADAFFI AND SHOOT ALIVE TO SAVE FROM THESE NATIONAL CRIMES OTHERWISE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WILL STARVE TO DEATH VERY SOON.
Ravana / July 14, 2012
I saw many tamils in Sinhala names here
RAJ / July 15, 2012
Get more foreign dogs and let them rule this country it is far better than these criminal Raja Horu.