SriLankan Airlines: CEO Capt. Ratwatte Bungles PIA Wet Lease Deal And Now Wants To Fly As A Pilot

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,News,STORIES |

After Bungling the Pakistan International Airlines wet lease deal which cost the debt ridden national carrier SriLankan Airlines a further whopping sum of over US $ 15.9 million, the airline’s CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte‘s new year resolution for 2017 now is to go back to flying an aircraft as a pilot.

The self-proclaiming CEO Ratwatte who once boasted of being the first Sri Lankan national to fly the commercial Airbus A380 aircraft whilst being employed at Emirates Airline, now wants to fly the smaller narrow bodied Airbus 320 aircraft instead.

Ratwatte

Ratwatte

However the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka has now vehemently opposed the CEO’s move to fly as a pilot.

In a strongly worded five point article published in the APGSL’s newsletter on the 19th of December 2016, the following concerns had been raised.

1. Undue strain on the accompanying technical crew due to obvious reasons, including the possibility of the other crew member being reluctant to discuss decisions made by Mr. Ratwatte even if safety risks are pertinent.
2. Will have a higher level of authority when compared to other pilots.
3. Productivity as a CEO drops when carrying out duties and responsibilities as a pilot.
4. Similarly the discharging of duties as a pilot would be affected by the strain of being a CEO.
5. Delays the upgrade of a permanent cadre pilot who has a longer service period.

A bold statement at the end of the message also begged the question if a fair process will be implemented in interviewing the CEO. It read “Will the CEO be subjected to the rigorous interview and assessment procedure applied by the company on other applicants”.

A member of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka when contacted by Colombo Telegraph said ” What is this bullshit now he wants to do? It’s better if the CEO Capt. Ratwatte go ‘Flies Uncle Charlie’s Kite’ instead. It seems like he is now fed up of riding his bicycle. The airline recruited a full time CEO not a pilot. Is the company doing so well that you don’t need a CEO at the helm? The protem CEO and Board Director Rakhitha Jayawardena was making steady progress running the airline with the hope of turning its profits from red to black. It was an arduous task.But there was some progress being made. After all Rakhitha Jayawardena is a businessman and it is disappointed he was not given a chance to showcase his skills on behalf of the airline. We were doing fine until Capt. Ratwatte was parachuted in. Perhaps the rest of the Board of Directors thought it’s better to send the inefficient CEO back to flying. Even his recruitment to this post is laden with corruption. He was never a management pilot either in the first place. Despite being a cost to the airline rather than being an asset, the airline would now have to incur over US $ 50,000 to train him on the Airbus 320,an aircraft, which he has never flown before. Maybe his backup plan is to get this license and go to Australia where his family currently is at the moment. This is in the event the airline is privatized and he finds himself unemployed”.

Meanwhile the recruitment and absorption of pilots from the now shut down budget carrier Mihin Lanka has also raised many questions.

The notorious shoplifter Capt. Pujitha Jayakody who has been evading arrest in Singapore has now been recruited by SriLankan Airlines. Prior to joining SriLankan Airlines from Mihin Lanka, Capt. Jayakody was also employed by Jet Airways in India. Sources from within Jet Airways speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Capt. Jayakody had requested not to be scheduled any flights to Singapore whilst he was employed in India. He had stated that he had impregnated a woman in Singapore and that the lady had filed charges in court demanding maintenance for the child.

However now with Capt. Rajind Ranatunga at the helm of of Flight Operations at SriLankan Airlines, it could be safely established that Capt. Jayakody would continue to be protected and not scheduled to operate any flights to Singapore in the future.

On the contrary Capt. Uditha Danwatte who was seconded to Mihin Lanka from SriLankan Airlines earlier, along with a command position has been overlooked.

He is now currently unemployed.

Many aviation professionals in Colombo being in the knowledge of what actually happened in Capt.Uditha Danwatte’s case have now begun to start crying foul.

It was reported earlier that Capt.Danwatte who when as a co- pilot was once breathalyzed in London Heathrow by local UK officials prior to departure and found to be under the influence of alcohol. He was subsequently terminated by SriLankan Airlines.However fighting his own case Capt. Danwatte got his drunken charge overturned in London UK, which then left the Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines in a right royal pickle.However the Board of Directors got the Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawala to intervene and a deal was negotiated with Capt.Uditha Danwatte prior to him filing charges against SriLankan Airlines for unlawful dismissal. The Board of Directors requested Capt. Danwatte to return the termination letter and in return offered him a promotion as a Captain instead with employment at Mihin Lanka. Now with Mihin Lanka being wound up and with majority of pilots being absorbed into SriLankan Airlines, the Board of Directors have decided to not recruit Capt.Danwatte. ( By Janaka Ranaweera )

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25 Responses to SriLankan Airlines: CEO Capt. Ratwatte Bungles PIA Wet Lease Deal And Now Wants To Fly As A Pilot

  1. 5
    5
    Behaving like another idiot ??????????? Being the CEO of UL want to indulge in Donkey work reserved for the dogs.

    thondamannay
    January 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm
    Reply

    • 0
      3
      Take my advise. Quit flying UL! Fly this utterly mismanaged political cronies’ airline at your own peril. Do not put your life at risk by flying an airline managed by these clowns, please. Yahapalanya had an opportunity to turn it all around. For Sri Lankna has the professional, commercial and technical know-how required to be a Singapore Airlines or an Emirates. That golden opportunity has now been squandered. They chose to appoint Chartha R’s bro, his cuting-edge qualification, as CEO instead. That’s not all. Exactly how corrupt Rajapassa cronies used to do stuff. Besides, nobody from the previous gang of jet-setting womanizers at the expense of SL’s treasury has been punished. Will never be. Take my word. Do not fly Sri Lankan. Cheers!

      Ben Hurling
      January 6, 2017 at 4:14 pm
      Reply

  2. 1
    4
    We have drunken Pilots all over the world.Some pilots God knows how they got their ATR. How safe are the public, is there is a quality check… for pilots….. There was post from Menaka of an Indonesian Pilot couldn’t even go thru the security check and we had one from Calgary to Cancun passed out at the control US pilots over flew their destination sleeping. What is next…Life safety hundreds of life at risk.Nepotism political connection standards are reduced where are we heading to. How do we correct this issue. or another statistic Pilot Error. !!!!!!

    Ron Pathman
    January 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm
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    • 1
      1
      Ron, mercifully the industry has it’s checks and balances to keep ‘tipsy’ pilots away from the flight deck. Some of them have addiction problems, just as those found in your East End of YVR. Others have way too much to drink the previous night, violating SOP’s and come sloshed for the flight. Again, they are intercepted and grounded. Most accidents on record are of less trained pilots. Those who are trained to let the auto pilot do the work, 800′ off ground, while they sit and observe. At crunch time, they have failed leading to loss of life. In this sense, alcohol, is a lesser evil.

      vishvajith
      January 4, 2017 at 10:15 am
      Reply

  3. 17
    2
    This guy does not know if he is coming or going .No Management Experience . Like a BULL DOG IN A CHINA SHOP. How did he get the JOB. Charitha Ratwattes brother . Royalist . So What if he flew for Emirates . Big Deal . There are Sri Lankans Flying all over the world .He Should pack his bags and leave

    Milla
    January 3, 2017 at 2:01 pm
    Reply

  4. 17
    5
    He is welcome to resume his best trade – piloting aircraft. That is what he is trained well at and has done well. But NOT while he is mismanaging the airline at its helm – forced into that position because of the compromising relationships his brother has with Ranil. Waiting for the day for Ranil to be out as PM and allowing more credible, intelligent, honest, forthright person from within the UNP to lead the country. Non of the existing cabinet members appear to posses any one of the traits for a forthright leader. This faggot should have been kicked out from the post of PM over the bond scam in which it has been found he had a hand. Shameless twit.

    Nic
    January 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm
    Reply

  5. 2
    2
    I look at this “CEO” differently from others who have opted to criticize him from the angle of his “affiliations” (political & relationship). He is a Pilot and has extensive experience in the operational aspects, such as Flight, Engineering, Ground Handling, Inflight Services etc. of an Air Line. That is a plus factor for him; and also a plus for the Air Line. Now the question is: How has he fitted into the “JOB” of a CEO? The “JOB” of a CEO is all a matter of LEADERSHIP. This Leadership begins with you and your belief in yourself and can continue if other people also believe in you. How could one “Believe in yourself” and “Get others to Believe you”. The foundation for this is nothing but “CREDIBILITY” that makes others to “WILLINGLY” follow you. In making an assessment of this person’s fitness to be a CEO, it is very essential to see how he has established his CREDIBILITY that INSPIRE others WILLINGNESS to follow. Sorry to say, as far as the reports go, he has FAILED. He had enough time to establish his “CREDIBILITY” as a Leader; but the unfolding events do not suggest any progress towards any achievement, other than emerging “Conflicts” in all aspects of Management. Those “Conflict” zones are very many (as per reports) and it is time for him to question himself: Do I believe in myself and Can I make others to believe in and follow me? If the answers are in the negative, he must give up as CEO. There is nothing wrong for him to once again operate as a Pilot. The five factors that are pointed by the Pilot Guild do not disqualify him being a CEO. I would request the Pilot Guild to make a more realistic and an overview assessment on the basis of his capacity to LEAD a “Team” perhaps composed of thousands of operatives functioning in the various fields within the Air Line. That, I believe, would be a very valuable contribution on your part to UPLIFT this National Venture and you will be admired by everyone in the Airline and as well by the Public.

    Douglas
    January 3, 2017 at 8:49 pm
    Reply

    • 0
      3
      I agree Douglas. I also support his role as CEO and his ask to be commanding an aircraft. The only other pilot who was at the helm at UL was Rakhitha J and he too kept flying. Anyways, his role will be a mute point when the Airline changes ownership. Cheers.

      vishvajith
      January 4, 2017 at 10:07 am
      Reply

  6. 5
    2
    It Happens all the time, let’s get the national air line back on track, the friendliest and the best cabin service without a doubt compared with the top air lines.

    Concern citizen
    January 3, 2017 at 10:11 pm
    Reply

  7. 11
    3
    So what’s next at Srilankan?Probably jungi mudalali and kopi kade (Barista) Mudalali and also Chairman Srilankan Ajith Dias,may also wish to pilot an aircraft!If Ratwatte with ZERO management expirience can be CEO why the hell cannot Dias be a pilot?Hurrah, ohoma yang Sri(Silly)Lankan!!!

    Monara Kapothi
    January 3, 2017 at 10:29 pm
    Reply

  8. 5
    3
    Serves everyone who voted for these donkeys right! Now enjoy it!

    Eds
    January 3, 2017 at 10:47 pm
    Reply

  9. 8
    0
    Ratwatte would have done well as a actor in the movie MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES.

    valboezer
    January 4, 2017 at 1:51 am
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    • 4
      0
      The next you hear from him will be that he wants to be a astronaut and fly to Mars.

      Funny World
      January 4, 2017 at 10:54 pm
      Reply

  10. 6
    2
    This a…hole is trying to use public funds to be retrained. Absolutely no right to be a pilot unless he resigns his post as CEO and then applies for the pilot position if and when advertised and a transparent process is in place for the recruitment. Obviously jittery that if the airline is privatized he will be the first to be fired. Also since the family is in Australia there is a good chance that SL airlines will introduce flight into Australia so that this prick can then visit his family if he becomes a pilot. The board should use this opportunity to fire the guy as it clearly smacks of conflict of interest and negligence of duties of the CEO.

    virgo fernando
    January 4, 2017 at 10:39 am
    Reply

  11. 3
    0
    Before you go better sell it or ground the air crafts and concentrate on groudhandling,catering,and engineering

    Kugan
    January 4, 2017 at 2:41 pm
    Reply

  12. 4
    0
    Life is one big party for the those with the right connections,and it’s all fun and games. First sign of trouble and they’ll leave en masse – like rats leaving a sinking ship .

    The Oracle
    January 4, 2017 at 3:36 pm
    Reply

  13. 6
    5
    Another totally one-sided personal attack on a person here. First, CEO Suren Ratwatte has vast experience and a lot of common sense. He did not ever brag about flying the A-380. FACT: He and another fellow Royalist Syed were the FIRST to fly the A-380 Behemoth for Emirates. It was also one of the first set of pilots in the world to fly it. That is a record the appuhamy, gamarala MR selected UL pilots do not have and they are jealous. It is quite clear that these pilots who had Natta Pukey during MR times with a Olevel qualified Chairman Planter never uttered a peep. If this were an opinion column it would be ok with your clear biases. But this was printed as a CT news article. If it were a legit news article, the first thing you should have done is to check with CEO Ratwatte and get all sides of the story. UL Was fucked by the MR regime not by Ranil or the UNP regime. It made lots of money under CBK’s controversial albeit smart move to partner with Emirates. Also Suren is the ONLY SRI LANKAN Sinhala or Tamil to be mentioned in the World famous best seller “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. Here is a summary of what he discussed in his global bestseller. (which I am sure all you self appointed guardians of honesty and accountability and “intellectuality” have read) . Suren Ratwatte is a veteran pilot who has studied aircraft disasters. He confirms that the typical crash involves exhausted pilots, poor communication, poor decision-making, and misunderstanding. It is not often bad piloting that causes plane crashes: it is the pilots’ inability to do all of the other things that flying a plane involves: talking, improvising, multitasking, listening. Gladwell further breaks down our preconceptions of airplane crashes—often, it is not bad piloting or harsh weather that causes them. As with the predictors of success, unseen easily overlooked factors can make a big difference. Active Themes So either admit to the one-sided attack role you are playing about the money swallowing national carrier brought to this status by MR or be a bit more fair by the people without all these slanderous attacks. And why do you carry a private picture of his love of cycling? He is a fit, disciplined man. Sure pilots maybe flamboyant; why is he singled out when gamey bandas who MR recruited also have a massive ego. As for Drunken pilots, in the US an average of one pilot is arrested per month for being drunk. So why has drunken pilots got to do with Suren Ratwatte wanting to fly?: Rakitha did it. You really think he will have a tough time piloting the A-320? come on man. He wants to get the feel for what it is like for UL to fly; that is the way a GOOD LEADER and GOOD HANDS ON CEO operates. So either be honest that you are working on some set agenda, like Jayaweera or try to be fair and balanced genuinely. So Suren is a very fit man who can cycle around Ceylon. How many of your UL pilots can do that ? How many are employable by world class airlines? Sure he may use the F word, so what is the big deal? Are you saying the UL pilots are such Pansies and sensitive people even when drunk that they are upset he used the F word? Be fair please, be fair; otherwise you become like Fake News on social media in the US of A. I will be happy to see this young man with a Masters from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical school flying again so he gets to see it from the pilot’s view of a pilot from UL. Embry-Riddle by the way, is the world’s NUMBER ONE school for aeronautical studies. Ooooops now the drunken pilots will be more enraged and want revenge. This is the problem with our Sinhalayas. They are jealous. They want to backstab people. They are the only people in a company where they wait and cheer for the CEO to fail rather than succeed, forgetting that if the leader fails the entire company fails. That is why even in Hell there are no guards, guntowers, and fires about the Sinhala hell hole. Why? Because unlike all other Hell holes where all other races help and push up or pull up those trying to escape hell, in the Sinhala hell, they push the escapees down and pull down the escapees trying to get on the ladder. That is why India will be way ahead of you Lankans.

    Hiddleston
    January 4, 2017 at 11:40 pm
    Reply

    • 2
      1
      Listen he is only a pilot,this is Sl where only influence take your destination. Don’t forget that in charge of tea plucker divert the pale to pick him up from Singapore with these modys.

      Kugan
      January 5, 2017 at 1:08 am
      Reply

  14. 3
    0
    He should stepdown as CEO. Retire and stick to riding mountain bikes. Look on the bright side, the sitting Ducks may be able to bail out Sri Lankan and the passengers(God Bless them) on future UL flights can fly safely, without this tomfoolery. By the by who the hell does he think he is, John Travolta?(Wikipedia).

    Jigsaw Jakson
    January 5, 2017 at 6:45 am
    Reply

  15. 2
    0
    Forget the Airline think about other state owned enterprises running at a colossal and it is time we look at them objectively. Most of our left inclined politicians have not learned from the past. Except Srilanka almost the entire world including Russia and China has given up state sector lead growth and rely on the private sector. It is time that our left leaders who cannot win a seat in the Parliament without the help of a major party realize the folly of clinging on to rusty socialist ideals and be reformed. These gays they are protesting against leasing of property to foreigners. They may not be aware that by sitting at your desk in Srilanka one can buy freehold properties in most of the developed countries no questions asked. That’s how they developed. The problem is not the people but the system.

    Upali Weerasinghe
    January 5, 2017 at 11:09 am
    Reply

  16. 2
    0
    Anonymity of the Internet brings out trolls and insults galore. What I am bothered mostly about this article and other articles targeting Suren Ratwatte is that they are not opinion columns of the kind we all write to CT; CT does a great job with opinion columns. This article and a lot of articles in recent times attacking CEO SR seems to be of a personal nature and are considered CT’s news articles meaning they are written by what we hope are journalists and those journalists stick to standards of ethics and journalism that are common practice. So if it is a newsworthy article and passed on as REAL NEWS, the least it could do is get every side and every angle to the story and also seek comments from the person being targeted. Otherwise, these look like classical Donald Trump lies and accusations. I am damned sure now someone will attack me hiding behind an internet pseudonym. But the reality is this man is talented. I do not think there is anything wrong with being a hands-on CEO specially one who has the genuine record of being the first to fly the A-380 for EK. I feel all these articles were never around when MR was President and his brother-in-law was Chairman. Compare that guy to Ajith Dias; a respected successful businessmen. Why not give these guys a chance to fix things that were made into a big mess before they got there? But above all I am writing this response to say CT, please try to get all sides of stories and not just give in to personal agendas. This is as bad as Trump’s tweets, and false accusations, and fake news we find here in the USA. By the way I detest the UNP for their gory history; so I am not writing this to defend the UNP but if we have any nous, we will realize that the bloated bureaucracies and government departments and government run organizations have been filled with political appointees and specially socialist governments see the govt as a way to provide jobs. These guys are trying to do a thankless job to cut the fat aren’t they? Just try to get all sides of the story please when you post “NEWS”. Thank you. Insulting talented people? what is there to gain? Happy and blissful 2017 to all.

    Mano Ratwatte
    January 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm
    Reply

  17. 1
    0
    Interesting to see that someone else has mentioned that he was cited in a chapter in a global best seller. Suren Ratwatte is the ONLY Sri Lankan to be cited in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”…..When my wife read the book on a flight to London for an academic conference(she is an avid reader unlike me), she called me as soon as she landed to ask me “Is this Suren Ratwatte a relative of yours”.? Then a former student of mine who is also an avid reader and a US military veteran who served in Iraq also calls me at work excited and asked me the same. I said “of course” quite proudly because I knew who he was but had never spoken a word with him by then. My student Ian was so thrilled because he was on the Giant Chinook Helicopter in Iraq flying as Tech Support in Iraq and is still one of my most loyal former students. He has heard from me about the fact that I may have some thug relatives and awesome relatives but that I am who I am just an ordinary person being a relatively successful lecturer in the US.(and I still remember my 10th grade Biology Teacher Mangalajeewa, in 1973 hitting me and also scolding me: His favorite words to me was “I shay Ratwatte you are destined to be mediocre and you are not even as good as your Cousin Anura who helped me sweep the rooms. Another amazing teacher was a UNP activist from Bambalapitiya. She was my amazing Buddhism and Sinhala teacher and the only reason I got credits in both was her teaching. One day, me being a back bencher, was being talkative and she was very angry with me. She says “Ratwatte thamusey kata wahagana innawa; thamusela Deshapaalana waasiyata aagama maaru karapu evung”. I was stunned. But then a close friend of mine from Kollupitiya thug area; a brave lad; PP Anura came to my defense and says “Miss oya thamai waradi; oyaa kiyanney Bandaranaike gana, meyaa ratwatte ekollang bauddha”.. Wow. I think Mrs. Liyanage(may she attain Nirvana) felt badly but she is the only reason I excelled in Buddhism and remembered so many stanzas from the Dhammapada which I try to use to this date. My favorite is “Najjaja Wasalohothi; Najjajha hothi Brahmano; Kammana Wasalohothi; Kammana Hothi Brahmano”. What incredible universal truths. What it means is that “no one is born superior to another by virtue of birth and no one is born superior to another by virtue of birth either; It is ONLY and ONLY our actions that will decide whether we are higher or lowly humans”. I am sure you can guess, at that time the SLFP haal polu, queue days had made the entire nation quite angry; our teachers used to hit me more,(I compared notes recently with another close friend of mine, whose father was a minister and he said the same thing; the same set of teachers used to hit us, squeeze us by the collar; cane us and slap us more for the same sort of violation as others) and also target me more with verbal insults. But she gave me a glowing character letter when I left and also I worked with her in the Buddhist Brotherhood society. We had different organizations in school and she was the advisor to that organization(we had Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu organizations too). That was part of growing up. No big deal. But turns out I can take pride in a distant relative of mine shining in his field of aviation. He is not Mediocre in a mediocre world with overstuffed bureaucrats and people who are so eager to kiss ass. Hell why not? ). I have become lazy and don’t read too much anymore so I am yet to read that book mentioned in the other op-ed. I am not defending him as a relative; but is there a need to attack him in so many articles when we never saw even one during the MR regime ?

    Mano Ratwatte
    January 5, 2017 at 8:56 pm
    Reply

  18. 6
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    Suren or anyone else can’t run this airline till the top management and the middle management of the airline can’t step up and perform. Suren kick some butt don’t surround yourself with a bunch of yes men. As long as we have expats flying for UL why can’t you get rated and fly .

    Charles
    January 6, 2017 at 1:25 am
    Reply

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    Gregory Fernandopulle
    January 9, 2017 at 11:38 pm
    Reply

  20. 0
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    [Edited out]

    Arumugam Thangiah
    January 13, 2017 at 7:30 am
    Reply

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