19 October, 2017

SriLankan Airlines: President Sirisena Promises Pilots He Will Come To Their Rescue

President Maithripala Sirisena who met Executive Committee Members of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka has vowed that he would intervene and look into the grievances brought forward by the pilots of SriLankan Airlines regarding the unacceptable conduct of the senior management of the airline.

Maithripala

The President had accorded a meeting after the pilots who conducted an SMS vote among the members of the ALPGSL who voted 135 in favour of and 63 against going on industrial action, if their request for a meeting with their Chairman, Board of Directors and Minister of Public Enterprise was not been granted.

Besides many items on their list of grievances was the questionable existence of its present CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte and Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawala besides the victimization of their fellow pilot Capt. Sujith Jayasekara.

The senior management of the airline is currently made up of close associates of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The airline is headed by Chairman Ajith Dias who has no previous airline experience and CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte who also has no prior experience of holding such a position. Whilst the Chairman is a close associate of Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, CEO Ratwatte is the brother of Charitha Ratwatte one of the premier’s closest buddies. The Board of Directors is made up primarily of political appointees.

A member of the ALPGSL speaking on condition of anonymity as he is barred from speaking to the media told Colombo Telegraph “ever since the Yahapalanaya government came into power we have been hoodwinked from the beginning. It started with much promise with the government appointing a committee to investigate the fraud and corruption done by the previous regime. The BOI comprised of Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna and his team of lawyers. Many of us staff came forward and spoke out openly. There was much promise when the findings of the investigation were over. Lawyer Weliamuna recommended that the former Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe and CEO Kapila Chandrasena be prosecuted. Many others were also named as those that were involved in large scale fraud and corruption. This much hyped investigation into the national carrier was conducted after the Yahapalanaya government came into power and prior to the General Election. After the General Election was over nothing happened regarding the findings of the Weliamuna inquiry. Many named still run the airline in their same capacities. Now the present management is ruining the airline further. They have no business sense at all. They simply closed three stations during the peak winter season which were Frankfurt, Rome and Paris. Then they made much noise about securing a wet lease deal with Pakistan International Airlines. That was a flop too even though the CEO Capt. Ratwatte portrayed that we made profit on paper. The Pakistani government is currently investigating PIA for fraud committed through this deal. Our government should also investigate as to what happened and punish these perpetrators without letting them ruin this airline further. The Flight Attendants Union President Sakvithi Senadheera incurred a whopping loss to the airline when he refused to fly to Bahrain on the 19th of January 2017 stating that they were exceeding Flight Time Duty Limitations. The flight was cancelled which also inconvenienced hundreds of passengers. Here again the management along with the Scheduling Department bungled this entire incident. But all they did was get a letter of apology from the FAU President Senadheera and the entire loss was written off. However one of our members Capt.Sujith Jayasekara continues to be victimized for simply questioning a procedure that was hurriedly enforced. The management wanted a letter of apology from him too. He refused to apologize for no fault committed. Now he remains at home and his paid his wages until retirement”.

Colombo Telegraph can confirm that the management of SriLankan Airlines has further wasted a sum of over Rs 10 million over the last six month period. This was due to the Chairman Dias, CEO Capt.Ratwatte and the Board of Directors consenting to rather pay Capt. Sujith Jayasekara his wages despite not utilizing his services up until his current contractual agreement with the airline expires on the 28th of February 2017.

The Board of Directors’ decision to prolong an inquiry in their quest to victimize Capt. Jayasekara further is where it is alleged that he had refused to comply with a breathalyzer test prior to his flight departure to Bangkok last August.

The Executive Committee of the ALPGSL believe that the dramatic irony behind this incident is where those conducting the breathalyzer test permitted Capt.Jayasekara and his co-pilot to operate their flight to Bangkok despite not been tested and then complained to the management that they refused to do so.

Due to Capt. Sujith Jayasekara’s insistence in questioning a process not being conducted appropriately, the entire process and procedural change of the breathalyzer test was changed immediately by the airline after the management met with officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and also the Executive Committee of the ALPGSL.

The Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka had earlier had written to Chairman Dias demanding that Capt. Sujith Jayasekara be reinstated immediately. However Chairman Dias opted to ignore their officially written letter.

At the time of writing it is reliably learnt that another letter had been sent to Chairman Dias by the ALPGSL today, reminding him further and warning him and his Board of Directors that the Pilots Guild do have the consent of their members to go on industrial action if their demands are not met.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 7
    3

    To the members of the Pilot Guild: When you meet the President, please make it a point to demand ONLY a Management Agreement with a reputed Airline such as Singapore/Emirates etc. and replace all these “Heads of Departments” who are “Corrupted” and “Incompetent”. Request to replace the CEO with a Accomplished and a Reputed Financial person either from abroad or very many of such persons available locally. All those “Heads of Departments” who have so far failed and named in that Waliamuna Report must be referred to an Investigation process and punished appropriately. Get the newly assigned Management outfit to “Train” and “Handover” the management within a stipulated time period to a Team of Young and Promising personnel who would be appropriately equipped to shoulder the responsibilities and bear accountability. There are enough of such and army of young blood available in Sri Lanka. This is most appropriate way to recover your Air Line. Please give your consideration to this proposal. Thank you.

    • 2
      2

      Douglas seems to be never short of advice when it comes to matters relating to SriLankan Airlines.Being domiciled overseas perhaps it does not take much courage to dispense such.

      Only wish He had such wisdom and courage of conviction during the time when he was the Head of HR,instead of meekly following the orders of Chairman/MD

      O Tempora,O Mores

      • 0
        0

        This is not that Douglas, this is an imposter, an ex pilot at the airline . Nondescript character at SLAF, UL and MJ

  • 0
    3

    Pls go with the padlocks for good

  • 9
    5

    President Maithripala Sirisena

    “President Maithripala Sirisena who met Executive Committee Members of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka has vowed that he would intervene and look into the grievances brought forward by the pilots of SriLankan Airlines regarding the unacceptable conduct of the senior management of the airline.”

    Why, the senior management will not let the pilots to drink and fly?

    After All Sri Lankan bus drivers, drink and drive.

  • 7
    3

    Ah.. the saviour of them all! :)

  • 13
    1

    Now that MS is getting ready to meddle with SriLankan Airlines affairs we can expect more chaos.

    Is there any issue of National importance that MS has managed to solve in a meaningful way so far ? instead all what he has achieved is to compound the problems.There surely would be another Commission appointed by MS

    Good Luck for ALPGSL and the Airline

  • 2
    6

    Amarasiri the article is in English and that is probably why you can’t understand what is written.
    Get someone to translate it then you will understand that it’s not about wanting to drink and fly.

    • 4
      1

      Jon

      “The Board of Directors’ decision to prolong an inquiry in their quest to victimize Capt. Jayasekara further is where it is alleged that he had refused to comply with a breathalyzer test prior to his flight departure to Bangkok last August.”

      Agree that besides the Pilots, the Management and the President must be subjected to Breathalyzer tests AND intelligence tests.

      “The senior management of the airline is currently made up of close associates of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The airline is headed by Chairman Ajith Dias who has no previous airline experience and CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte who also has no prior experience of holding such a position.”

      This is the standard operating procedure of the Paras, IQ 79, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      Is President Sirisena bored with nothing to do and trying to help out the morons?

  • 6
    1

    The current board of Sri lankan Airlines board is not having any business sense at all. They let current duty free operator leaving with peace of mind as if they continue for another two years that duty free contractor will incurs huge losses but Sri Lankan Airlines had a guaranteed income for that two years. Now Sri Lankan going to do the duty free in house will put more pressure on finances of Sri Lankan and consequently tax payers. More Sri Lankan Airlines will have more losses by taking this decision. Who ever took this decision screwed Sri Lankan now. It seems current board of Directors have been badly exposed for their inefficiency and their self interest before the national Airline.

    It is right time for President to intervene.

  • 4
    1

    Has anyone wondered as to why only the Pilot’s guild is making all the noise about mismanagement of the Airline ? Surely there are other Unions as well who represent different category of Professionals and should not they too worry about the issues that seem to be bothering the Pilots.Perhaps they have an opinion that is quite opposite to the Pilots.

    Should not every employee worry about their future when the Airline is on the brink of Bankruptcy and the majority of citizens of this country are sick of this organization which keeps on bleeding the national coffers year after year regardless of who has been managing at the Top.

    It is no secret that for the last two years the Airline has been directly influenced by RW and his cohorts and Pilots should be day dreaming if they think by going to MS things are going to change for better.Would RW ask his friend the Chairman and another Good Friends Brother(CEO) to step down just because Pilots went to MS with their grievances.

    The Board and the Senior Management may be inept but then the whole organization itself has been sick for a long time and if a radical surgery cannot help perhaps “mercy killing” may be the only option that may be available.

    Sadly the way things are progressing ,time to write an Epitaph on the Airline may be in the not too distant future

  • 4
    0

    SriLankan Airlines is not a business – it is a Racket.

    Once this is understood the rest falls into place.

    GOSL appointees are not there to do anything – they are there to enable the Racketeering to continue whilst blocking any investigation or attempt to put a stop to it.

    Who pocketed the commissions on all the new aircraft that have been ordered? Nobody wants to discuss that.

    The financial situation is so bad that no Airline on the planet will get involved in any way.

    There is no conceivable way for this to ever make money.

    The Annual Report is titled “The Skies are Clearing” – just laughable if wasn’t so tragic.

    The only thing left to do is close this down – the sooner the better imho.

  • 1
    0

    die hard turncoat spineless hero in action!!!
    You can do it how you rescued MaRa and co.

  • 1
    0

    citizen: Thank you. What do you think of my suggestion? I believe a dialogue on the subject matter could be more useful than engaging in personal finger pointing. I totally agree with what you have said in other two comments. This President has become a “Kokatath Thaile” and if the order of the day is that, then at least who are invited to discuss matters must tell him what to do and what the reality is. I think the pilots have an axe to grind, in that, they at the commencement of the present administration decided to forgo a salary cut by way of denying themselves the annual salary increments and gave a breathing space for the higher ups to sort out matters. That did not happen and that could be due to various factors. I think the rest of the employees are unionized under the banner of SLFP and their “silence” could be political and strategical. On the other hand all employees must not be wanting to rock the boat as that would directly impact their future prospects. They must be depending on wiser counsel of relying on the Government to handle the matter rather than their involvement. We all know from the very start of the present Government, the PM did not care to look at the situation from a National perspective; but haphazardly selected his own cronies to administer the outfit. As his behavioral pattern, he never admits mistakes and correct those, but rather continue to defend whatever the shortcomings and objections are. That is his “Style” and no one can change, unless the history repeats. As things are that history will repeat.

    • 1
      1

      If it is national perspective better winds up this is a fantasy enterprise to make the Colombo elites to have comforts give them a car permits as well.

      Don’t think they will loose jobs the orther air lines will do the routes so they find jobs.

      Keep the ground handling engineering/maintenance and catering that’s well enough to keep the vast employment.

      To keep flying the air crafts is so expensive.crews and agendas pilots will get job in another air line.may be good with pay or tax free.

    • 4
      0

      Douglas

      Problems faced by SrLankan are so deep rooted any superficial effort to resurrect it would never see any result.

      Financially it is Bankrupt and as an Organization it is in total mess with no true Leadership at the helm.

      MR regime created the mess and RW continues the tradition in his inimitable style and all what is now needed is MS entering into the scene.

      The stark truth is,that as long as Politicians(Blue/Green or Red) wants to keep meddling into the affairs of the Airline it will never be able to come out of this sinkhole that presently they are in.Neither could they expect an Airline of any repute to show an Interest .

      Writing is clearly on the Wall if only one is willing to look at.

      Privatize the Airline or Close it down

  • 0
    0

    SriLankan Airlines: President Sirisena Promises Pilots He Will Come To Their Rescue

    PResident Maithripala sirisena:

    If the above is true, it is politial interference. YOu are the president and your job description is not to management everything.

    Expect it from the air line managmement. If they can not handle it fire them.

    If you are there to save an unsuitable employees because you get a vote, then you know as a president what you are doing.

    I hope you don’t engage in this kind things except the CT editorial board.

  • 1
    0

    citizen: Thanks. You are now getting into some good criticism and coming out with thoughts of “How to Do It”. “Privatize the Airline”; but I do not agree it should be “Closed Down”. Yes Privatization is a good plan. Yet, I think the Government, meaning the PEOPLE must have a stake in its holding; but certainly not the type adopted in Hambantota Port project. As you said this cancerous Political interference in matters of its management must be completely eliminated and rested in the hands of a good, competent and trustworthy Management Team. I am sure you know the Chrysler car company that was about to be closed down was resurrected by a person named Lee Iacocca and made it once again a pride of the car industry in USA. So there could be many such people who could do a similar job and save this National Carrier for the sake of the country.

    • 0
      0

      Douglas

      Lee Iacocca lived in USA and do not beleive neither the President nor the Congress got involved in running affairs of Chrysler Motors.But here in Sri Lanka things work differently and you and I know it very well.

      It is a Universal truth that no Government could run a successful Business let alone an Airline.Are we expecting Sri Lanka to be an exception.Even if you manage to employ the Best Management Team in the world the results would be the same as long as the Government keeps its stronghold.As a Taxpayer of this country I certainly do not want to have a stake in the Airline knowing very well how Politics play a role.Neither do we want to see any more National Funds be diverted for up keeping this Airline

      Sentiments aside,not many a tears will be shed if the Airline finally has to close down if no workable solution is found for the revival.

      Other than being used as a Political slogan,there certainly is no loss of National Pride if the Airline has to close down for not being able to make it viable.

  • 1
    0

    SriLankan Airlines is in disarray in doing Duty Free in House in relation to software and hardware as current duty free provider leaving end of March 2017. The whole decision to do duty free in house orchestrated by RJ in the board and paying millions for the system which they have got it free from the current duty free provider. Whose money this board member is playing? Is this not the hard earned tax payer’s money? Initially RJ took out the guaranteed income which Sri Lankan Airlines will get it for next two years and now spending millions for system. What kind of Board has approved this kind of loss making decisions?

    Privatization and outsourcing is the way to go. Obviously there is one board member (RJ) whose business is duty free and rather SriLankan doing duty free in house but in reality he is doing SriLankan Airlines duty free back door after shutting out guaranteed income for SriLankan Airlines for next two years.

    ALPGSL is absolutely correct asking intervention from President.

  • 0
    0

    Fedup…just faaaeeed up of the word “Promise” in this y’palanaya ruling.

    On the other hands, y’palanayers are also popular to entertain ‘work-strike mindsets’

  • 0
    0

    This gamarala is ever ready to meet each and every ………
    Where or when he ever get an opportunity to show his importance with people of standing?

    he is behaving like a gamaya come to town and mucking up everything

    SL Airlines is not in disarray as they are getting down pilots, duty free goods all from Polonnaruwa soon.

    Leave (RJ)-R’kitha Victory wadeen.. after all he is Ranil’s Cousin and was the first CEO of UL when Yahapalanaya Govt came to power and now a member of the board. He is a businessman.

    Douglas – Lee Iacocca’s are ancient theories. Thos won’t work. UL must go to (RJ) as he knows how to run a successful business through the back door. Further, he is not a looser like some of the parliamentarians that came in through the back door.

  • 0
    0

    citizen: Lee Iacocca is a legend in Management irrespective him been in USA or in any other country. His planning, re-structuring, negotiations with creditors, Governments, suppliers; team building etc. etc. skills were par excellence. There were and are several people of that same caliber in the industrial world and even in Sri Lanka. The only requirement is for the Leaders to identify them and make them to work. That is how in 1965 Lee Kwan Yew chose Mr. J.Y.M.Pillai with no background in aviation; but an intelligent, hardworking young Civil Servant in his mid 3os to start SIA. This is what I have been trying to tell all this while. Unfortunately, when frustration sets in, nothing works for betterment but only suicidal attempts emerge. I now conclude my dialogue and Thank You.

  • 0
    0

    Our president will rescue any size, trishaw drivers, bus drivers and now flight drivers, sorry pilots.

  • 1
    0

    Mr President – If this news item is correct – You better make the Pilot Guild Reps understand the fact that you are not the CEO or MD of the Airline and if they have any issues with management then they should resolve them with the management – And also tell the buggers that you are 100% behind CEO and MD.

    President should take MD or CEO to task if they cannot run the Airline profitably –

    AD should plan and get rid of all these trouble makers even you have to close the Airline

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.