19 October, 2019

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Sri Lankan Airlines: Weliamuna’s Investigation Hits ‘Turbulence’- Airline’s IT Dept Suspected Of Foul Play

The Aviation Minister’s ordered probe into the airline appears to have hit turbulence as the “Urgent Notice” requested to be sent to all staff by the airline almost a week ago seeking credible information from staff is yet to be received by employees of the airline.

JC Weliamuna

JC Weliamuna

Disrupting this probe on all possible counts was expected from the onset as many employees were waiting to spill beans.

Employees of the airline passing on credible information to support this investigation were anticipated by airline’s Senior Management Team especially the current CEO Kapila Chandrasena the political appointee of the former regime who mysteriously still remains in control.

Many of the airline’s employees have now raised concerns in disgust as to why only some have received the ‘Urgent Notice’ and not all and have now started pointing fingers at their very own Information Technology (I.T) Department for not dispatching this all important email.

“This appears to be another tactical move by our CEO Kapila Chandrasena as he will attempt to hinder the ordered probe and attempt to disrupt any flow of information from his staff which would expose him and his former Senior Management Team. Some of the former Senior Management Team members incidentally are still in employment with the airline and still attempt to wield their powers quite blatantly.

“Those in charge of the I.T Department should be held accountable if proved that they have willfully sabotaged this ordered governmental probe on the airline” complained a very senior employee of the airline.

Other staff members of the airline feel that due to the severity of the probe the existing CEO of the airline Kapila Chandrasena, should step aside until the Aviation Minister’s ordered probe is complete.

The former Chairman and brother in law of the former President Nishantha Wickremasinghe the so called former ‘Ace of Spades’ of the national carrier has already departed and now only the ‘king of Spades’ and number two in the airline CEO Chandrasena still remains.

There is no doubt the new Chairman of the national carrier Ajit Dias will end up becoming the ‘joker’ of the deck of cards if he does not fully support the Aviation Ministry during this probe.

It is now approximately one week since the email to all staff was ordered to be dispatched and many as of today are still to receive it.

Transporting of the famous Lamborghini cars for the former first Sons of the country, to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s VVIP travel of his puppy dog from Zurich to Colombo, to the former Chairman and Brother In Law Nishantha Wickremasinghe’s blatant and costly love affair with his Flight Stewardess paramour and his diversion of a commercial flight to Singapore for personal gain are all been investigated besides many other reasons as to why the airline had to undergo a serious operational loss of approximately Rs 120 Billion.

The aviation sector in Sri Lanka got a rude awakening early last week when probably for the first time in the country’s history a full probe into the ‘Abuse of Power’ by its Board of Directors and Senior Management, “Leasing and Purchasing of Aircraft”, “Major Contracts” and all “External Interference” of Sri Lankan Airlines was ordered by Arjuna Ranatunga the Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister earlier in the week.

The task of probing this national carrier has been entrusted to Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna and his team.

In has been reported that the response in the first week of the current probe has been promising with many employees beating a path to Mr.Weliamuna’s door and fearlessly coming forward to provide critical information.

Perhaps this is the golden opportunity that the Aviation Minister Arjuna Rantunga has been waiting for to prove that he can clean up this right royal mess that this once trend setting and award winning airline has found itself at present.

Minister Ranatunga won the country great accolades by leading his national team of cricketers to win the world cup in 1996. Now nineteen years later he finds himself leading his aviation team to a different playground, a playing field with much bigger boundaries and in a world where the aviation sector presents a completely different set of challenges.

The entire nation and the aviation world for that matter watches in hope as ‘Captain Cool’ attempts to trap those perpetrators ‘Leg Before Wicket’ (LBW) or bowl the them ‘through the gate’. He no doubt will begin this innings from scratch and make every endeavor to nudge the airline to prosperity with his trade mark flicks all around the park.

But the all-important question that lies on the lips of the each and every tax payer in this county is this.

Will this probe help clean up this mess and move the airline towards greater success or will this probe require the intervention of third umpire?

The ‘Urgent Notice’ sent out to all employees of Sri Lankan Airlines is as follows:

URGENT NOTICE
TO: ALL MEMBERS OF THE STAFF OF SRI LANKAN AIRLINES
BOARD OF INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE INTO MATTERS RELATING TO SRI LANKAN AIRLINES

Hon. Minister of Airport and Aviation has appointed a Board of Inquiry to inquire into certain critical aspects relating to Sri Lankan Airlines, and in particular, irregularities and abuse of power by the Management of Sri Lankan Airlines, prior to the appointment of the new Board of Directors in February 2015.

If any member of the Staff is aware of any instances of abuse of power and/or irregularities committed during the abovementioned period, such information is of vital importance in achieving the objectives of the Board of Inquiry. Therefore, all members of the Staff are requested to submit such vital information directly to the Board of Inquiry. Any person interfering with the transmission of such information through intimidation of whatever nature shall be severely dealt with.

Please note that, the identity of the members of the Staff who assist the Board of Inquiry will be kept strictly confidential. No staff member will be subjected to any form of victimization by disclosing such information to the Board of Inquiry
All information may be provided by email, by post or in person:

Address:
Board of Inquiry,
c/o Chairman
No. 147/5, Dutugamunu Street,
Kohuwela.
Email: srilankan.investigation@gmail.com
Phone: Mobile 0710211212 or Ext 1212

Any staff member who wishes to meet the Board of Inquiry may seek a personal appointment by phone or by a request made to the above email address.

© CT filed By Marlon Dale Ferreira

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Latest comments

  • 13
    8

    Time to scale down operations and run as a regional airline.

    We don’t have the cash to compete with Qatar, Emirates and Etihad.

    Loss for the months of Jan and Feb 2015 should be around Rs 4 bn. Loss for the 12 months ending 31 March 2015 should be approx Rs 20 bn. 2014 year loss was Rs 25 bn and last 5 years loss almost Rs 100 bn!!! Imagine the loss if the oil price was around USD 100!!!

    New Airbus planes were financed by a GOSL guarantee without cabinet approval and new govt will pull the plug on this as per Ravi K.

    Only hope is to tie up with a global player and if not we will bleed to death with tax payer money being wasted.

    • 8
      3

      Is this a joke?

    • 5
      4

      J. C. Weliamuna to investigate corruption and malpractice?

      The man is [Edited out] , like Paikiyasothy Saravanamuttu and Jehan Perera, lining his pockets with euros and dollars in the most opaque manner under the banner of a Transparency International.

      When the defacto government is over, this rogue will be the subject of a public trial with ritual summary justice served at the end.

      • 0
        0

        This is just attacking people without any knowledge or experience in airline industry, what can INT-NGO guy do about it.

        Have read about Qantas one of the best in the world.

        It’s a jaw-droppingly big number. It’s quite possibly the largest loss ever posted by any airline airline anywhere in the world. And a seemingly bottomless black hole for an airline which only three years ago declared an annual profit of $552 million.

        But $2.8 billion is not the number that should be taken away from the airline’s recap of the 2013-2014 financial year.

        Yes, $2.8 billion was the Big Scary Number featured in every headline, the opener of every news bulletin and the start of every conversation yesterday about Qantas and by extension the performance and fate of CEO Alan Joyce, a man who probably feels like Australia’s favourite punching bag.

    • 3
      1

      Jagath – I totally agree with you on your suggestion to scale down
      the operation and run a regional airline. This operation should be restricted to areas in the middle East, as there is enough house maid
      traffic to these areas and there is a demand for fresh vegetable, and
      to Some Indian ports,where there is pilgrim traffic and avoid overnight
      stay of aircraft and crew, which cost considerable amount of foreign
      exchange and probably to London where there is ethnic traffic and use other airlines in Europe to bring the Colombo bound passengers to London by entering into bilateral agreements and keep London as the base for Europe and the rest of the routes are not profitable and flights should not be operated for prestige sake, losing millions of dollars of public money.The problem is that the politicians, and their entourage and some time families included,and board of directors are provided with comfortable rides in 1st class, free of charge and they are reluctant to do away with such comforts at the expense of people’s money as they have to pay from the govt. coffers for tickets on other airlines and it will certainly not 1st class travel.
      People know how much of money, running into billions , the previous regime spent on air Travel. The current govt.does not seem to realise that billions of dollars are required to run an airline and the people cannot afford to lose such colossal amounts of money to fly the flag carrier around the world with no takers. There are other ways to make money by having agreements with other airlines to fly Sri Lankan passengers for a fee and have an open sky policy so that money could be made by providing handling services on ground and get commissions on selling tickets on other carriers and encourage charter operators to fly the tourists to SL for a cheaper price. I hope the Aviation Minister will take appropriate action to scale down the operation as the national airline also considered a white elephant.Very rarely airlines make profit as fuel, navigation fees and aircraft handling fees at other airports are too expensive and some governments can afford to accept the losses and certainly not the Sri Lankan govt.
      The minister, who has flown enough during his cricketing days, should not yield into the craps given by the board and instead appoint a committee with foreign experts to study whether Sri Lanka needs an airline of this size.

  • 10
    0

    “Minister Ranatunga won the country great accolades by leading his national team of cricketers to win the world cup in 1996. Now nineteen years later he finds himself leading his aviation team to a different playground, a playing field with much bigger boundaries and in a world where the aviation sector presents a completely different set of challenges”
    Ha,Ha,Ha…..Winning a game of cricket & winning an international reputation in an extremely competitive business against major airlines like Emirates, Etihad Qatar to name a few, is quite different.

    “The entire nation and the aviation world for that matter watches in hope as ‘Captain Cool’ attempts to trap those perpetrators ‘Leg Before Wicket’ (LBW) or bowl the them ‘through the gate’. He no doubt will begin this innings from scratch and make every endeavor to nudge the airline to prosperity with his trade mark flicks all around the park”.

    “It is OK to take something that does not belong to you without permission, so my brother is not a thief…Arjuna” Is this the guy whom you think will clean up the mess? Sorry pal, you are sadly mistaken. They are all in it together. I’ve known this man since my old cricketing days. I still remember the good old days at the Sri Lankan old boys cricket festival in Dulwich. He was never a leader but an opportunist just like Aravinda and all the Ranthunge brothers. Good luck Mr. Weliamuna & Sri Lanka Airlines!

    • 2
      0

      It amuses me how much credence is given to Arajuna because under his leader ship Sri Lanka won the world cup. Might I pointed that 10 others played in the team. Regarding Arajuna’s honesty and integrity yea wright this is the man who has done more party hopping that a Hop-along Cassidy. Running a competitive air line is not as easy as arguing with a bias Aussie cricket umpire in the middle. What is the tings not going to work out is Arajuna going to threaten to ground all are crafts?

  • 11
    1

    This clearly shows we are not competent to manage anything successfully. Look what happened to our Tea and Rubber estates. I remember the workers being provided with adequate housing, schools and stores with subsidised essentials and still turning over a profit. The ill advised land distribution scheme that fragmented the estates did not help either besides losing the economies of scale. The running down of SriLankan is self inflicted and partly due to the ego of our former President Mahinda Rajapakse to whom The Emirates, then managing SriLankan and returning healthy profits, did not give him special treatment he demanded to off load booked passengers to accommodate the Rajapakse entourage at short notice, the government simply cancelled the management contract.

  • 6
    0

    I wonder why Mr Welamuni and these commissions cannot take a more aggressive approach similar to an external audit of these organizations’. They should move in, set up office at Sri Lankan and interview the senior management, peruse the files etc. instead of sending a mail and waiting for results. Perhaps they are not accustomed to such external audit procedures.

  • 3
    0

    “Is this a joke” Salman asked. Yes…..Yes….Yes. A big time joke. It was in the news how another brother of the Aviation Minister who happens to be a “business partner” of the present Chairman – “Textile Technologist” met and wanted not to remove the present CEO – Mr. Kapila Chandrasena. So wait and see, this “Textile Specialist” hand picked by the present Prime Minister to head the largest loss making aviation venture of the Government will definitely “weave” a wool over the eyes of all the people of the country.

    Apart from that “ONE TELEPHONE CALL” from the ex President, Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse to the Prime Minister will “SETTLE” everything. After all he- the ex President has to look after both his brother and more importantly the “Brother-in-Law” and he also knows that this “Hell Hole” has to be cemented before anything (shit) comes out before the Parliament elections. We know how this present Prime Minister has “looked after” this ex President in so many times in so many ways, in past years. So don’t expect anything more and if you do,you will end up in sheer frustration.

  • 4
    3

    Weliamuna is totally impartial hence we’ll suited to the task. I don’ t think he will even recognise Ranil, Chandrika or Mangale if he comes across them on the street, let alone being an ardent enemy of the former regime. Such impartial intellectual giants are all what we need to pull the dirt of the former regime and enshrine Yahapalanaya.

    • 0
      0

      Paul

      “Such impartial intellectual giants are all what we need to pull the dirt of the former regime and enshrine Yahapalanaya”

      Are you saying Maithiri should not employ Dayan although he is a smart ass patriot.

  • 2
    0

    Interesting when people like Jagath are talking of scaling Down! The question in not that, but about abuse of power and corruption! Koheda yanne, Malle pol!
    I trust Weli to deliver the goods of Yahapalanaya! Don’t be in a haste. Collect the proof and hammer!

  • 5
    2

    Dear Marlon
    I am a current employee at SriLankan and I am not taking any sides here except highlighting the truth. Over three to four thousand employees here and overseas with email accounts received this email, so did I and the email was addressed and sent to “all employees group address”. Only people who did not receive it was apparently under 200 employees, most who are our “loyal” cabin crew members -those who give you this bogus information about possible sabotage. And that too due to no fault of IT department, simply the emails got bounced off as their mailboxes were full. Do you believe information from those who even can not be bothered to clean their inboxes, could you not as a respected and a responsible journalist checked the veracity of the story before you went public?

  • 3
    0

    Oh, it’s really sorry situation, we bring down our selves. It’s a fine Airlines with fantastic service. I see many of the comments are from those who not travelled frequently in Sri Lankan Airlines. The problem is with the management and politics. If the right management is in place and given the freedom for them to run it commercially with the best business pricinples and practice with out political interferences ,in order to bring in the required income. I’m very certain, it would become a gold mine for the country by bringing in the much needed revenue and profite. For this the minister, chairman and board should get people of top caliber with good qualifications, experience and proven track record. There are many Sri Lankans working in many Airlines, all over the world and doing great job of it. If their talent and expertise are tapped, it would easy to turn around the Airlines. I’m sure, they would be more than happy to contribute to the motherland than doing it to foreign countries.

  • 3
    3

    Dont put any sri lankans at the top. Recepie for disaster.

    We already had one or more in the past. Put a hard nosed suddha who knows his onions, and close down the vip lounge for politicians and the path to it.

  • 3
    0

    I cant agree more as write by srinath. Every single staff had got this mail.people who dont get is most cabin crew staff who never clear their mail as they only play with the fancy mobile phones. If you are staff who join they automatically become mail address in list.but this crew people never check the company mail. This story to throw dirty on IT department. This man marlon had problems with airline before so now he want to give bad image. All other expert people who do not know airline business talk rubbish. People forget this airline bring almost 60 pecent of our tourists to our country which makes millions,so if airline lose 2 million industry make 10 million. I agree that some former management did some mistakes but how can all this outside people decide that all emplyees is bad? If you do not know our business i think your opinion you should keep. Give this airline a chance to do things for our small country.

  • 6
    3

    Dear Marlon, don’t you have the humility to accept that your story was wrong and leave those of us who do not have “political” agenda alone….That’s least you can do

  • 0
    0

    where is vishawajith norbut anton? why isn’t he commenting here?

  • 1
    1

    Weliamuna must open this inquiry office in SriLankan Airline premises.That will show the present employees he comes with authority.As long as corrupt Kapila Chandrasena remains CEO …staff are reluctant to come forward….

  • 3
    3

    rest assured this man, captai Cool will make Sri Lankan go on the same route as the MH470 into the deep sea with no managerial experince and managing a vast respsonsibility of Shipping and Aviation.

    This RRRRR family with one journo which makes RRRR in politics and business deals are second only for the RRRRRRRRRRRRRR family of Medamulana when it comes for corruption and dictatorship.

    Like the Medamulana rogue big R, who thinks he was god send to protect the country after the War and the reincarnation of Dutugemunu, this R from Gampaha thinks he owns the game of Cricket as he won the WC in 1996.

    One brother was corrupt to the core and virtualy run the Cricket board with the blessing of the Rajapaksas and a multi billionaire mega deal and money launderer.

    Im not sure about the new CEO though he will definitely better than the old Wickie.

  • 4
    2

    Having read many comments, and being a staff myself, I honestly dont think this story has any truth whatsoever.
    As staff we have all received this mail without excpetions. I am sure as commented by many this is majority who had their mail boxes full? These are usually crew of this airline who also provide such stories to this writer who will publish anything against the Airline.

    I beleive judging how this airline works and its profitability etc is everyones right,but expressing their views on how to run the Airline business is wrong.
    This Airline has had great people in past ,so leave the Airline alone. Correct whats needed which the government will do by working closer.

    • 0
      2

      Scared u may lose ur job? WE the People WANT accountability, having said that Arjuna MAY NOT be the best in management, he may try his hand at correcting what was wrong for more than 10 years…Sajin Vass screwed the airline over so did Mahinda…

      Talk to Emirates ( like how the govt is dealing with the west, India and China) and try to convince em to start from where they left… Mahinda was the reason Emirates cut off the partnership…

      • 3
        0

        Please correct me if I am mistaken. This Arjuna was member of the previous regime, wasnt’t he?. The other two corrupt Ranathunge thugs are no different to Sajin or MR.

  • 0
    0

    Will Captain Cool be able to clean up the mess OR will he get messed up at the end of the day??

    The need of the moment is not a clean up and thereby crippling the airline BUT to work towards efficiency and profitability.

    Wonder whether Welimuna & Arjuna are aware where they are heading?

  • 2
    1

    manage the crew who do nothing at all on boad but hold the company to ransom to get hefty pay increases. Lets see the mangement taking action agaist some of the seniors who do not work on board but sleep as this is their side job. What about those overweight crew, a pathetic site to see! Get them to do a propoer job as in airlanka days and we will have primium passengers flying us. They want to run the airline but not do their job. Have you heard them talk? They think they know everything. These are the people who are giving false info to this ex crewmember who joined emirates after the training he got at srilankan, i think he was saked from emirates. Has he joined a board members company now?

  • 2
    0

    Crooks will always be devious. They will act without leaving a trace of evidence. If any evidence did exist they will try to erase it. File burning and the destruction of records has been carried out extensively. Therefore the new GOV cannot afford to play the tune of thoththa babas and go crying about how the files have been stolen etc.etc. This must be anticipated and countermeasures have to be taken. It seems that in this case one of the chief culprits is allowed to carry on in the naive hope he will cooperate when obviously he is not. Cleaning up a mess means firing people who have a dubious reputation when even all the facts and evidence is not available.

  • 2
    0

    Well said Mr.Jagath, but to be really honest, we do not even have the cash to run some bullock carts.

    Well it seems M3 knew the shit anyone who takes over the country has to deal with, some people are have no ability at all to conceive M3’s intelligence, he is an extremely seasoned politician, a simpleton , risen above & among simple people , calm and obedient Buddhist, he has put the right people in the right positions to keep the country going ,he is also fully aware that in every organization there still remains Mahinda’s supporters trying hard to protect him , not because they love him ,it is only to save their own skins. , none realizes WHAT DEEP DEBTS this dear country is in.

    I hope and pray we do not end up like Indonesia, during Suharto’s fall , that is what is fearful , The present government does not want to scare the people to-much by exposing the real situation, of where we really stand now , but it is better the people now everything in black and white , you need to do a house to house visit to educate the folks ,to whom they want to vote is their personal decision after they know the clear picture, at-least they will know how important it is for all of us to tighten our belts, compromise and do some sacrifices for the sake of this Country ,if any of us really do care.

  • 2
    1

    Any Government needs to address the needs of its people first which in our case, is to put in place a good public transport service. Of what use is this airline that runs at such colossal losses to the people of this country? At the same time, the railways are totally neglected. We have not added one km to the network which we inherited from the British although there is such a great potential in Sri Lanka to develop the railways.
    The Airlines must at least break even; if they cannot do that, they must be closed down or asked to run a internal service. The funds available must be spent to develop the local public transport.

  • 0
    0

    What does a government know to run an air line? hand this to our blue chips to form a consortium and run it, they will show the profit and clean management!

    Further you take away commercial intitutes from govt, better they are run?

    Privatise the management of these institutes!

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