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Sri Lankan airlines board to be sacked soon

By By Our Political Correspondent

Jun 13, 2017 21:53 PM GMT+0530 | 9 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - The Cabinet of ministers on Tuesday lambasted SriLankan Airlines management for high handed action, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly promised to sack the entire board of directors of the national carrier.

A senior government source said minister after minister criticised SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias, a Royal College mate of Wickremesinghe, and demanded that President Maithripala Sirisena dissolve the airline board immediately.

"There was very severe criticism of the board and the management team,” the source told EconomyNext. “They have been acting like a government within a government. They have treated their own minister (Kabir Hashim) very badly, ignoring his orders and treating him very shabbily."

The source who asked not to be named said that the airline had been recruiting staff despite running at a huge loss.

"They have not informed the government about their recruitment. They also have a lot of people from the previous regime…. Although the government changed, these key people have not."

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka told the cabinet that several henchmen of former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa were still holding sensitive positions within the airline.

"Last time, the staff of SriLankan voted against (president) Rajapaksa because of brother-in-law (then Sri Lankan chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe) ruined it," the source said. “Next time, all employees will vote against us because of this (current) board.”

The cabinet of minister decided to question the entire board by summoning them before a parliamentary committee next week to examine their work.

-Firing of Capt Sujith Jayasekera-

Ministers were also distressed that Dias had terminated the services of a captain after a flawed inquiry and having overlooked requests from both the President and the Prime Minister to reconsider.

Captain Sujith Jayasekera’s alleged refusal to take a test on the night of August 27 just before operating UL 402 from Colombo to Bangkok was "tantamount to a positive reading," SriLankan had said, but he was allowed to operate the same flight with a full complement of passengers and crew.

Jayasekera had been a president of the Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka, which had been a thorn on the side of SriLankan management, and his termination is seen by many as victimisation for standing up to corrupt and illegal activities within the carrier.

Dias had allegedly informed the prime minister that it had been a decision of the SriLankan board not to renew Jayasekera’s contract, but a copy of the board decision was not so clear.  The board had noted that Jayasekera would be granted the use of the flight simulator while he was grounded, but that was never communicated to him.

Jayasekera has taken the matter to higher authorities who are miffed by the SriLankan chairman’s actions.

-Snubbing Kabir-

State Enterprise Development minister Kabir Hashim who is responsible for the national airline vowed earlier this year to "clean up the mafia" at SriLankan.

Several ministers came to Kabir’s defence on Tuesday and pointed out to both the President and the Prime Minister that Dias had been allowed to get away by snubbing his own minister for too long and called for his immediate removal.

"At this stage, the Prime Minister intervened to say that he will very soon reconstitute the board with new people,” a minister said.

"I regret that I have not been able to make any changes, but I am determined to clean up the place," Hashim said in January. "I will not give up. I will fight to get rid of them."

Dias was also criticised for not taking action against an air hostess who worked for former president Rajapaksa’s legislator son Namal and continued to be paid by the national carrier.

 In April 2015, the Weliamuna report said SriLankan Airlines was a paradise for sex predators, with the top management demanding sexual favours from staff, leading to a breakdown of discipline at all levels.

The Board of Inquiry of Weliamuna found that Pradeepa Kakulawala, the head of Human Resources, adopted a laissez-faire attitude towards sexual harassment that allowed perverts to run free. (COLOMBO, June 13, 2017)


 

9 Comments

  1. DS June 14, 08:00 AM

    The golden era of Sri Lankan, was then Air Lanka during UNP President Premadasa. Chairman Dunstan(if I remember his 1st name properly) Jayawardhana but most importantly the then most powerful Paskaralingam playing an executive role in the board. During their period staff were recruited through initial competitive examinations followed with tough transparent interviews.
    That practice was shelved after Chandrika came to power and the airline started to make losses once again before they got Emirates involved. Though you can't get Paskaralingam to play that role again, I am sure there are such capable government servants and professionals in Sri Lanka who can perform if they are given the requisite autonomy

  2. Nic June 14, 05:55 AM

    The Sri Lankan Board is comprised of all henchmen of Ranil. A fair number of the Board members are dual citizens with families domiciled in UK and New Zealand. Each time they get on a UL flight, there goes a revenue generating business class seat for UL. Being a school mate of Ranil is NO qualification to manage an airline. The present CEO has zero management experience other than being inclined to Ranil.Mr President, move in - remove all Board and Senior management stat. No point wasting tax payer money and valuable time setting up committees of inquiry.Follow the recommendations of an inquiry held at a fair cost when your Government came to power.You need educated, experienced and proven businesspersons to manage a national enterprise. If other airlines could be profitable, why not UL?

  3. Siripala June 14, 04:53 AM

    The ruination of Sri Lanka, can be traced back to JRJ. . Ranil following on his uncle's foot steps, appointed his cronies to run an already messed up Sri Lankan airline. The current CEO wants to be a Pilot than the CEO of the airline. So what can we expect? Why didn't Ranil welcome back Peter Hill when he showed interest? was Ranil trying to sell Sri Lankan to a consortium put in place by Perpetual ?

  4. L C Anthonypillai June 14, 04:17 AM

    Again appoint some friends and relatives are directors. That's the route cause of the problem. Nepotism and favoritism ruining Mother Lanka.

  5. Namal June 14, 02:55 AM

    Royal Mania has killed the country over Over again.Dump local boot licking boards old rotten school maniacsBring on Smart Educated Professionals who never bend and worked overseas before, of course with no politics. There is no other solution for this now.

  6. sirimevan June 14, 01:32 AM

    Sri Lankan Airlines has been in trouble since inception and it has continued for over last 30yrs, Stupid Field Marshal though they have been in power over 2yrs can't get rid of the Rajapaksa ghost from his mind. While in power if their is cause like Ranil's class mates who is ruining the Airline should get rid of them with help from President . Be a man my dear. I feel sorry Mr.Kabir who is trying to do a honest job without any backing.

  7. Bushra June 14, 01:39 AM

    The entire board and senior management must be changed , as these are the people who are robbing the airline dry , after Emirates left

  8. sacre blieu June 14, 08:58 AM

    Not better late than never, but as always damn too late after the stables have not only have been emptied but also the structure has been rendered rotten.

  9. gihan June 14, 07:49 AM

    Sri Lankan Airlines was a paradise for sex predators,laissez-faire attitude towards sexual harassment that allowed perverts a free run.

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