SriLankan Airlines celebrated the loyalty of hundreds of its longest-serving staff with a gala evening ‘Celebration of Excellence’ at Waters Edge in Colombo, including an amazing 171 who have served the National Carrier since its inception more than three decades ago.
Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said: “There aren’t many companies anywhere in the world which have such a high percentage of its founding employees with them after 30 years. This speaks volumes of the quality of both SriLankan Airlines and its staff. It is fitting that as SriLankan Airlines stands on the verge of success, we celebrate our everyday heroes – the thousands of men and women who have served this airline around the world for many years.”
Of the 2,148 employees recruited during SriLankan’s first year in existence, nearly 10% remain with the airline. This is despite its global standing as a nursery for the worldwide air transport industry, where pilots, cabin crew, aircraft engineers, and ground staff have their formative years in the industry and go on to other airlines, especially in Asia and the Middle East. Manoj Gunawardena, SriLankan’s CEO, said: “This is a celebration of loyalty. SriLankan Airlines has kept its loyalty to its employees by providing them with secure livelihoods even at the worst of times in the global air transport industry, and the airline’s employees have kept their loyalty by faithfully serving the company. With our country at peace and the global economy recovering, the hard times are over for our airline, and all our employees can look forward to good times.”
Mementoes and certificates were presented to 687 employees who completed 30, 25, 20, 15, and 10 years in 2009/10, with the 30-year awards being presented for the first time in the airline’s history. Pradeepa Dahanayake, Head of Human Resources, said: “These pioneering employees are the senior members of the SriLankan Airlines Family, whom we will count on to help our airline achieve results in the future, especially by sharing their wealth of experience and nurturing our younger colleagues.”
The veteran staff included many of the Airline’s Heads of Divisions and Senior Managers whose careers have progressed throughout the years in the company.
Captain Milinda Ratnayake, Head of Service Delivery, who was one of the airline’s founding staff, said: “Every one of us is proud to have served our National Carrier, which has carried the Sri Lankan flag around the world since 1979, and has instilled in all of us a sense of loyalty and patriotism.”
Long-standing staff hailed from categories as diverse as pilots, cabin crew, security officers, aircraft engineers, accountants, ground staff, and also serving in 17 of the airline’s overseas offices from London to Singapore.