Controversial Sri Lankan Army officer and former Rajapaksa government stalwart Bandula Weragama was appointed as the General Manager Airport & Ground Services at SriLankan Airlines a short while ago.
CEO Suren Ratwatte gathered all senior managers of the airline earlier today in Katunayake to make this official announcement. ” I have selected the best candidate from those that had applied for the post” CEO Ratwatte said. Other experienced airline professionals who were overlooked were Ajith Fernando, Yohan Pathirane, Janaka Munasinghe and Shiran Perera.
Weragama waltzed into the airline directly from the Sri Lanka Army during the Rajapaksa regime’s reign and went on to be appointed the Head of In Flight Services, with no prior airline experience.
Weragama’s appointment now comes under further controversial circumstances. It was only a few months ago that he was ejected from his post of Head of In Flight Services for the physical assault of Manager In Flight Services Senaka De Soysa, in the airline’s premise. He was transferred to the airline’s Department of Security and Investigations overnight where strangely no further inquiry was held into this incident.
The airline’s Jathika Seva Sangamaya (JSS) Union officials had earlier met Minister of Public Enterprise Development Kabir Hashim and protested against the appointment of Weragama.
The official appointment to this post had been put on hold.
However with Minister Hashim currently out of the country, the appointment of Weragama has now been made by CEO Ratwatte.
” It is a known fact that our airline’s board of directors do not see eye to eye. Chairman Ajit Dias, CEO Ratwatte , Col. Sunil Peiris and Mahinda Haradas are alleged to be on one side whilst the rest of the directors are on the other. It was made known that a member of the board from the second camp was instrumental in transferring Weragama from In Flight Services overnight, for his committed assault. A further strong rumor is that Nalini Fernando who retired in December 2015, is said to be brought back as a consultant, to assist Weragama in his new role. Airport Passenger Services, Ground Services, Contracts, Cargo and most importantly Customer Service are areas Weragama has no experience in ” said an airline source on condition of anonymity, as he is not permitted to speak officially to the media.