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News


Manoj to be appointed SriLankan COO

Manoj Vass Gunawardena is tipped to be appointed as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SriLankan Airlines, contrary to initial speculations that he was to take over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Meanwhile, at a specially convened meeting yesterday, the SriLankan Board of Management addressing the national carrier’s senior staff disclosed the airline’s future structure.

It is also believed that under the new structure, the COO will enjoy more powers, similar to those enjoyed by the CEO.
Although no indication was given at yesterday’s meeting as to who the airline’s new COO will be, the industry was abuzz over Gunawardena being appointed to fill the slot of COO.

Yesterday’s meeting was chaired by SriLankan Airlines Chairman Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and included Board Members Sunil Wijesinghe, Lalith de Silva and Nishantha Wickremasinghe.

Vipula Gunatilleka is also tipped to be the airline’s Chief Group Financial Officer, while Manik Gunasekara is likely to be appointed as Head of Commercial.

According to the new structure, in future, the airline’s commercial operations, engineering, cargo, in flight, corporate communications and ground handling will come under the purview of the COO.

Meanwhile, highly placed sources told The Nation that frustration was building up over the failure by the government to keep to its initial pledges made to the airline’s pilots by former Chairman Harry Jayawardena.

Although Jayawardena promised to take care of many grievances of the pilots, his removal has led to the promises remaining unfulfilled, sources said.

Pilots continue to complain about the waylaid pledges, which included salary increases and better facilities.
It is learnt that in the recent past, most of the hotels the pilots have been put up in are of unacceptable standards.
Meanwhile, clandestine moves are underway by a group to transfer Senior Flight Operations Manager Captain Milinda Ratnayake, who has some 11 years of experience, from Flight Operations to the Service Delivery Separtment.

The group, consisting Pilots Guild President Sujith Jayasekara, Renuka Senanyake and Namal Fernando, citing reasons for their attempt, have claimed that they wanted Ratnayake out because he was not carrying out his duties properly and the standards in hotels and uniforms have deteriorated.

They have also expressed dissatisfaction with the way instructors are being appointed.
However, incidentally, neither Jayasekara, Senanyake nor Fernando are instructors.