19 September, 2018

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SriLankan Airlines: Arrogant Chairman Dias Made To Eat Humble Pie

The Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka has won a ruling in their favour when the Labour Department endorsed that access to the Colombo Airport Business Class Lounge be provided to the Pilots of SriLankan Airlines when using staff rebated tickets and travelling as passengers.

Chairman Ajit Dias

This was after the management of the airline headed by Chairman Ajith Dias ruled that this privilege be taken away from all staff which included the pilots, barring the luxury to be afforded only to his management team and their respective family members.

Additional Labour Commissioner P.A.S.C. Pathiraja ruled that the pilots be granted access to the airport Business Class Lounge after a complaint was made by the Pilots Guild in this regard.

In a hard hitting exchange of correspondence made between the Pilots Guild and Chairman Dias, the latter went on to threaten the pilots with stern disciplinary action if they resorted to going on industrial action. Chairman Dias’ letter also stated that it was against the signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the two parties for them to do so. This was after the Pilots Guild sent their Chairman a strongly worded letter stating a plethora of grievances and requesting for a meeting.

The Pilots Guild in their letter also accused Chairman Dias and his team of management officials for violating the existing CBA which included the removal of their access to the lounge and behaving with arrogance and impunity. The letter also stated that they would look into avenues of safeguarding the interests of its member pilots.

The management’s continued stance and attempt of intimidating its pilots was witnessed throughout the last year, where at least three pilots (one from SriLankan Airlines and two from Mihin Lanka) were made redundant for simply highlighting and challenging immeasurable flaws enforced by Chairman Dias and his team. One serious safety violation highlighted by Capt. Charles Sirimanne was pertaining to a scheduled flight operated from Colombo to Seychelles. Instead of praising the pilots for their actions, they were shown the exit doors instead.

Meanwhile the airline’s management now demonstrates that selective treatment is meted to those that tow their line.

Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that the management of the national carrier is to recover Rupees 15 million from their now sacked Capt. Upendra Ranaweera from his end of service benefits. This was after he was found to be under the influence of alcohol prior to departure in Frankfurt last year. Capt. Ranaweera’s unaccepted behavior resulted in the flight from Frankfurt to Colombo experiencing a huge delay, besides inconveniencing many passengers and incurring a loss calculated by the airline to be US $ 230,729 ( LKR 34,680,875.99). The said payment is to be recovered under the terms of section 13 of the payment of gratuity ACT no 12 of 1983 (as amended).

However earlier in January of this year, the airline also suffered a colossal loss, when the President of the Flight Attendants Union Sakvithi Senadheera along with his crew refused to fly from Colombo to Bahrain and back. This was as the FAU President stated that he and his team of crew members were going to exceed their flight duty time limits. The flight to Bahrain on that day was cancelled. This blunder created by the Scheduling Department headed by Nalaka de Soysa and overseen by Capt.Rajind Rantunga the Head of Flight Operations was merely brushed under the carpet. FAU President was pressured by the airline’s management into submitting a written apology for his actions. He duly obliged. Whilst no one has been penalized as yet for this fiasco, no attempt has also been made by Chairman Dias to recover that loss.

It is evident that Chairman Dias is now taking after the former Chairman Nishantha Wickrmasinghe, who had a soft spot for the airline’s Cabin Crew, especially his penchant love for stewardesses. (By Janaka Ranaweera)

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Latest comments

  • 19
    1

    Pls grant car permits to the pilots

    Close down this fantasy air line.

    • 16
      5

      Chairman Ajit Dias

      “This was after the management of the airline headed by Chairman Ajith Dias ruled that this privilege be taken away from all staff which included the pilots, barring the luxury to be afforded only to his management team and their respective family members.”

      So you wanted a Management Caste and no workers, pilots, allowed into the Management Temple..

      Remember it is the Pilots who are the workers, and they are ding the work and earning for everybody.

      No pilots, no air service.

      What is your IQ? 79, the average for Sri Lanka?

      • 13
        4

        Plenty of “glorified bus drivers “aka pilots around. Sack all the buggers !

  • 33
    5

    Please sell the damn airline ASAP.

    Not worth talking about it.

    • 17
      3

      Well said Jagath! Its an absolute waste of time, money and resources. Not going anywhere…

    • 6
      0

      Jagath Fernando. Remember this was once a profitable enterprise until your mentor Mahinda Rajapkse interfered with its management because he was slighted. How dare they? I am amazed Mahinda Rajapakse is still revered by morons even after thieving $20 Billions from our coffers and also almost bankrupting a viable airline because of his pride.

  • 9
    4

    It is reported that the airline has taken charge of five new aircraft ordered during the previous regime.
    Recruiting staff for these and adding new destinations will further strain the finances/management.

    Do we need a “national” airline?
    Better sell all assets, repay all debts and give ‘golden handshakes’ to all staff.

    Let all travel by other airlines touching Katunayake.

  • 8
    4

    What a shame. The Airline Pilots guild of Sri Lanka takes pride in a ruling given by the Labour dept. that
    the pilots and their ‘jing bang’ can make use of the airport lounge facility during their private journeys from
    Colombo airport. They never realised that the cost of consumption of food and drinks by the ‘Jing Bang’
    will be debited to Sri Lankan airlines , which adds on to the colossal loss the airline is suffering currently.
    This is people’s money .
    We can understand if they rejoiced over a ruling on higher pay or allowances but certainly not for eating
    and drinking on public money.. From day one, the govt. took over power, they wanted to resurrect the airline and they still cannot find a partner airline who could come forward to develop the airline. On the
    other, hand, pride sets in as the govt. does not want foreign airlines to assist in resurrection as if they
    take the leading rolls, they will set the rules and regulations and govt. free travel will be restricted which
    will affect ‘Plitico’ travel.
    So the Govt. thinking may be tho’ the airline is losing public money heavily on a daily basis.let us enjoy
    the privilege of Free taxi service, where kith and kin of politicos can have a ride.at public cost. provided
    by Sri Lankan airlines management., which privilege may not be possible under a foreign airline.

  • 5
    3

    Introduce the most wanted ‘Head of Operations Control’ an administratively qualified guy and the let all the Chief Pilots to report to him. By this way an administratively qualified guy (and not a driver/pilot) will manage this esteemed division. All they want is their perks and nothing about fellow staff. Some junk of Lansi’s running the division!!!… Otherwise we will have Management Pilots who still get their transport and fuel allowance and still uses ECD transport to come to office!!!…

  • 8
    0

    Some of the Chairmen appointed by Ranil, may be there due to high pre election party funding , and not due to their capability. You cannot prevent them from abusing the position. Some have come for that purpose. Definitely yahapalanaya is being made yakapalanaya by some imprudent appointments. People Know well, Ranil knows well, what is waiting for UNP. Now the motto is clear, make as much as possible before next election.

  • 8
    1

    what an issue to fight for and now to gloat about !!! Surely there must be more critical issues that the Pilot community should be more concerned given the present status of the Airline.

    On the other hand is it a case of small things pleasing small people ?

    Anyway do not believe we have seen the end of this episode yet

  • 3
    0

    What a joke! The company exists for benefit of employees? new name required- SL Staff Welfare Airline?poor tax payer has to pay! New logo – Koodella – blood sucking Leech
    drawing on tail need not be changed!!

  • 8
    1

    Most major airlines don’t give staff access to their lounges. Can’t these whining bunch of pilots get a life. This is done to preserve space in the lounges for actual paying revenue guests. Also the rule should apply to the fellows in the board equally, they can’t be above the pilots. Pay for the other lounge if needed for business reasons and claim it.

    Stop the cronyism and nonsense guys and get on with it or close the damn airline.

  • 2
    1

    If the airline is to be resurrected we should have a tie-up with another, like the agreement some years ago with KLM negotiated then by Major Montague Jayawickrema (Minister of Transport) which ensured a guaranteed profit for “Air Ceylon”.

    This is not possible today because of “Commis Kakkas”.

    However, Chairman Mr, Ajith Dias, who I have known for many years, does not come under this category. His honesty and integrity cannot be questioned. He is a brilliant businessman, but the problem is that he has no experience in Airline Management. His appointment as Chairman was based solely on his honesty and integrity, which was grossly lacking in his predecessor.

  • 1
    1

    My comment sent a few minutes ago is not” duplicated” by me, It is an appraisal of a person I know very well. However, It is your prerogative whether to publish it or not.

  • 3
    2

    I suggest that the Pilots should be given Duty Free car permits, free petrol, access to Royal for their children and free tickets for the family.

  • 3
    0

    This is how stupid politicians manage govt. institutions. First clip their powers and hand over the management to professional govt. bodies.

  • 1
    0

    SriLankan Airlines is not a business nor does it resemble a business in any way.

    It is nothing but Corruption/Theft/Fraud and Racketeering on a massive scale.

    If Ajith Dias really has the claimed honesty and integrity then why is he a part of this? As Chairman he has to know what is going on in the Airline. The correct option in this situation is to resign.

    Ajith Dias has also denied the accuracy of the Weliamuna Comission report – an insult to those people who came forward with information. I can assure you that this report paints a very accurate picture of the situation at the Airline – it’s the tip of the iceberg.

    The correct thing to do is to close this down as quickly as possible before this and the other vanity mega-projects drags the entire country under.

  • 2
    0

    Mr. Eddie Wijesuriya: Re. Mr Ajith Dias. He is a close associate of you and the testimonial given as to his honesty, integrity could be accepted. But I don’t think he is a “good Businessman”. So far he has failed and shown his failure to undertake a “Business” venture like that of SriLankan and turn around even in day to day affairs. For that your assertion that he has no “Experience in Airline Management” is no excuse and that is not a “Need” at all. Looking at it from your point of view, if he is a “Good Businessman”; “Honest”, he should never have accepted this “assignment:”. A “Good Businessman” with honesty and integrity will never walk into take upon an assignment that he assesses to be not within his capacity. As regards this “Airline Experience” you speak of, please read the history of Singapore Airlines. You will be amazed to find out how Late Mr. Lee Kuvan Yeu selected a young civil servant in his late thirties, Mr. Y.J.M.Pillai who was never ever involved in airline work, to start an airline and he fulfilled that in building that outfit to be one of the “Best” airlines in the world. If you need further information in that respect, please read the history and the present status of Air Asia. I think what is wrong with Mr. Dias is simple. He has become a “Stooge” and a “Pawn” in the hands of “Crooked Politicians”. With that assessment, I am compelled to reject your “Testimonial” given to Mr. Ajith Dias. Don’t you agree?

    • 2
      0

      Douglas

      I tend to agree with you.Having character certificates from close friends and associates is not going to help the Airline.If he ever was an astute Business person as claimed,surely he would have been able make some progress even without Airline experience. As for Integrity it is a word that is often being used by most of us without even trying to understand what it really means.Stephen Carter in his book “Intergrity” tells of Three steps.1)discerning what is right and what is wrong:2)acting on what you have discerned even at personal cost:3)saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong

      Now where does Mr.Dias stand ?

  • 5
    0

    Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister has given his personal friend
    (and UNP fund raiser) Ajith Dias as well as Suren Ratwatte, the brother
    of his bosom pal Charitha, to run SriLankan Airlines. They are running
    it to the ground.

    The supreme arrogance of Wickremesinghe has been transferred to
    them. So the two of them, who have NO experience in the airline
    industry, are doing what they want. Every now and then they seek
    Treasury money for the plunder.

    Who calls Ranil W a patriot who feels for the country? He only feels
    for his boys and friends. He is governing with them. Anyone who
    even murmurs a word against get sidelined.

    The worst thing that ever happened to Sri Lankan politics is Ranil
    Wickremesinghe. He will ruin all the public institutions in time to
    come.

  • 3
    0

    Eddie
    His appointment iwas based on his friendship with the number 2 , just like Mahendran . Honesty and integrity have nothing to do with it – just loyalty to the boss .

  • 2
    0

    We Sri Lankans have become confused with words like Honesty, Integrity, Character over the past 3 decades. One, because English education ended with the 1982 A/L batch and after 1977 we got a bunch of politicians who KNEW Hawaiian slippers and Wetlook sarees were the way into voters minds. Never mind the Ala Bathala of the 70-77 period!

    Today, we think honest people screwing up national entities must be excused for their stupidity and rewarded for their bravery.

    If you are an honest person, you will say, I don’t want this task UNLESS you give me the following options on paper. The ability to hire and fire without restriction and to implement a master plan running into 5-10 years with government guaranteed funds for the full period. Dias knew he was getting into a publicly funded jaunt of free First class trips for him and his family. So what the hell!

    If you are a person with character, you would have done what many Sri Lankans with an ounce of character have done all this time. Stay away from the stink!

    Lets not try to blame blame one or the other because there are the crooks and their armies of facilitators. And, the beauty is, they are all still stealing, while we keep typing.

  • 3
    0

    Years ago, during the time of President Premadasa, the members of the Board of Management of Air Ceylon – appointed by him – and their families, were given three sets of free air tickets in business class to destinations of their choice and back, each year.

  • 1
    0

    Ranil is always vilified as putting his friends and running the airline down???
    Have they forgotten Shiranthi’s brother? The millions we were in debt in dollars? The pilots, stewardesses for used to a lifestyle only known to sultans of Saudi. Bring these pilots back to their senses. They are the drivers of the airline and not the share holders. They are over paid. Truly arrogant. Give the. A weeks traonjbg in Sngapore airlines and learn what it is to have a high level training and yet to give the best piloting service while getting fair and deserved pays and perks. Learn a lesson from their example!

  • 0
    0

    In the end this is a business. Just like in any business, the most important person is the customer. This is the very reason why Airlines such as Air Canada doesn’t allow any of their employees to use their lounges that are across the country in pretty much all major airports. This applies to the CEO of the company down which covers all employees.
    If at any given point any of the employees are to fly business class on a revenue ticket, they get to use the lounge. If they are flying on employee coupons they are not considered as a paying customer so the answer is pretty straightforward.
    Weather we like to accept this or not, national airline is a nations pride and it’s up to us to preserve it. Politicians will come and go but disappointed customers will continue to fly but not on Sri Lankan.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. ajit Dias a very bad grandson of a very good and honorable Arther V Dias (Kos Mama) what a shame

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