26 September, 2022


SriLankan Airlines: Chairman Dias And Director Board Have Not Resigned – Confirms PM’s Office

Amidst much speculation and media hype that SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias and his Board of Directors have resigned, Colombo Telegraph can confirm that neither have they handed over their resignations nor have they been asked to resign as yet.

Dias and Ratwatte

At the time of writing Chairman Ajith Dias and his existing Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines are still firmly rooted to their respective seats.

With the restructuring process of the national carrier currently underway, there are two appointed committees steering the process.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is heading the Ministerial Committee along with Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Public Enterprise Development Development Kabir Hashim and Minister of Devlopment Strategies and Internal Trade Mahinda Samarasinghe.

The second committee is the Special Task Force appointed to assist the Ministerial Committee which is headed by Secretary to the Treasury Dr. R.H.Samaratunga, Secretary Minister of Public Enterprise Development Ravindra Hewavitharana, Thilan Wijesinghe (Convenor), Mano Tittawella, Dr. Roshan Perera, Chairman Ajitha Dias and CEO Suren Ratwatte who is also appointed to assist Nyras Consulting Company, the UK base firm selected to assist with the airline’s restructuring process

According to sources close to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office it can be confirmed that Chairman Ajith Dias had met up with his Board of Directors in mid December and informed them that due to the restructuring process the airline was going though it may be evident that a new Board of Directors be reconstituted.

At this meeting Chairman Ajith Dias and his Directors agreed to submit a letter on the 21st of December 2017 to the Ministerial Committee informing them of their willingness to resign. However at this meeting Board Director Harendra Balapatabendi refused to agree to the decision taken by the rest of the Board of Directors and instructed that his name not be included in the letter.

According to Premier Wickeremesinghe’s office sources the letter received on the 21st of December 2017, was only tabled at the concluded Ministerial Committee meeting held last Wednesday.

“They have not resigned nor have they have been asked to resign as yet,” confirmed the PM’s office source.

Meanwhile Ajith Dias in his annual New Year address to his employees at Katunayake had intimated that his wife Sunel Dias had pressured him to consider in tendering his resignation from the post of Chairman.

He quoted his wife’s words to him in Sinhala saying “Oya kehel mala damala dala enne,” meaning “just leave that plantain flower and come.”

Chairman Dias incidentally also shares a similar trait to that of his predecessor Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe, as he is also married to a former Flight Stewardess.

His wife Sunel worked for Air Ceylon in the 1970’s as a Flight Stewardess.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    This new article is not true. The board has resigned. The new Chairman is Thilan Wijesinghe, the controversial former BOI Chairman.

    • 5

      God these guys are scraping the bottom. Under UNP all crooks are reborn ! Ranils sleazy character is dominating UNP culture !

  • 12

    Get the next Board appointee to place a cash deposit of LKR 10m each, as a bond which will be refunded to them only when they complete their term. If there’s any hanky panky recover it from them.

  • 4

    Sri Lankan Airlines is rubbish.I flew Colombo-> London. 12 hour flight but Only two meals were served. The main meal portion is smaller than a starter portion and the quality of the food was crap . No water bottles.Every time you need if you need water you need to ask the cabin crew, but the safety video says drink lots of water. . In flight entertainment was also rubbish.Landed in London absolutely starving.
    In contrast London ->Colombo I flew Malasian Air Lines with a break in KL. They served two large meals and snacks in between and available all the time. plus water bottles and unlimited drinks. The in flight entertainment was great with latest films.

    • 8

      Long ago, International flights gave foods and that was too much, at the end of the flight. singapore Air lines gave even alcohol. Now it is different. You feel you are hungry. It is not only Srilankan airlines. domestic services seats are like those of CTB. they charge for everything.

  • 5

    National newspapers say the SriLankan Airlines board resigned. CT says ‘No’.
    To confuse us, the Lankan silent majority?
    Is this what we get when media freedom is relaxed?

  • 6

    Luis: ” Next Board……..to place cash deposit of LKR 10m…..” You either do not know or do not assess how the “Deals” in this aviation industry are carried out. The latest has been by the present CEO/Director who extended the lease of three aircraft belonging to a Leasing Co. in UK. and agreed to hand over those to Pakistan International on a “Wet Lease”. Now the Leasing Co. in UK is suing Sri Lankan Airline. The LOSS to Sri Lankan is immaterial; but the “DEAL” is very MATERIAL. This was quarried by a Ministry Secretary, but his (CEO’s) brother in PM’s Office “Overruled” the quarry and “ENDS” there. This is just a “DROP” in the ocean; but what the previous Chairman and CEO have done on those “DEALS” are hundred times more than your call to deposit LKR 10m. That is “PEANUTS”. If you need to know further, watch “News 1” aired a few day back where these DEALS were explicitly explained with a nicely drafted diagram by an analyst.

  • 3

    businesses wants a CEO and CFO. Why Sri lanka has a businessman who has conflicts of intersts with the Air lines as the chairman. Sri lanka 24 air planes including those not operational. Yet, it has over 7000 employees and pilots complain for fatigue. One news article said, there is a Resturcing going on and Ranil is the boss of that committee. What does Ranil know ?

  • 4

    Oh Lord ! 10m is rats poo if you know how the previous CEO ate, even if he goes to prison he will keep getting the share. His house in Barnes Pl is also a Cargo deal given to a moslem freight forwarder in the city and he got US cents on every kilo. He gave the space of Mihin to this one agent and every one had to buy space from this agent. CRM system Sri Lankan bought for US 22 million and no one used it. All computers, telephones revenue systems and the internet booking division also was given out for a cut from every deal. In fact appointing GSAs in other countries were given for approx 50000/- US
    People in the city and staff are all aware of what’s going on. Even now the corridor girls talk of things before it happens or before an appointment. It’s all in the out for you to sniff around people

  • 1

    What Srilankan today the Government of past and present should take responsibility. In the current context the board except for two Directors i do not know the profiles and whether they could give value additions. I see that as the biggest mistake of appointing directors either do not have affluent expereince or knowledge in aviation or expereince in large scale organizations. If it so im sure this could be revived. Neither chairman, CEO and directors except for two who is Mr. Britto and Mr. Deva Adiyta who are Directors of Aitken Spence which is cologramate which im sure some value could be given and of others what they could infuse.

  • 2

    Does this means they are still on the board the Srilankan flight.? Where are they trying to fly?Khel mal is very nutritious.Cooked properly it cures various stomach ailment but it will not cure the ills of Srilankan Air .Let them be on board until arrangements are made to put them behind bars.

  • 1

    Before the directors are kicked out or asked to resign the Govt. must kick the chiefs and some of the heads who mislead, and show a varnished nice happy ending picture. In reality the board of directors should be a set of people who could question with knowledge and experience in the airline industry. Route profitability, pricing principals,product value, contribution to the national economy, commercial and airport agreements , placing correct people in correct positions. Real focus on cost and getting maximum service and value from the partners, growing other businesses rather than depending on ticket revenue. Not many airlines depend on ticket revenue alone these days. We do not need people in higher positions just to run Sri Lankan but to make impactful, positive changes, be it ruthless, drastic, shocking with profitability and cost effectiveness

  • 0

    I guess Thilan Wijesinghe who is tipped to be the interim Chairman is a good move. It is sad to understand how HB has refused resignation . This itself proves many. Yet I can’t understand why the Government takes long time to remove the board and appoints a competent board which im sure will turn around the organization.

  • 0

    Quote Colombo Telegraph” The Chairman shares a similar traits to his predecessor
    Nishantha Wickramasinghe”” No way!! This Chairman has been married to the same woman since 1975
    – ( 43 years !!) who was a flight stewardess before marriage. And Dias has been the the Chairman only the last 3 years!!
    The formar Chairman was ‘allegedly’ having affairs with stewardesses!! There is a huge difference!! The problem with with SriLankan people is that they love to gossip & destroy people’s reputation.
    It is said in Hell there are two huge tunnels and in one tunnel there are security guards at the top to stop people escaping!! And in the other tunnel where the SriLankans are kept there are no security guards!! Why? Because when a SriLankan tries to escape others pull him down!! And am mighty glad am not SriLankan.

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