PAST CHAIRMANS & CHAIRPERSONS

SRI LANKA ASSOCIATION OF AIRLINE REPRESENTATIVES – PAST PRESIDENTS

At present the membership consists of 32 airline GSAs in Sri Lanka. The Chairman & Executive Committee Members (the Immediate Past President is a member of the Ex-co) are elected at an annual general meeting to guide the association on behalf of the general membership.

Executive Committee meetings and General Meetings (with the full membership) are conducted every alternate month.

Mr. Eric Gauder - 1994 - 1995

Started my career with Singapore Airlines for 5 years and it was a real grind in those days with a lack of equipment etc.

Had a spell of 5 years in Dubai in a totally different field and returned to Sri Lanka and joined Aitken Spence Travels and because of my Aviation back ground was moved to look after the GSA of Finnair and Silk Air.

It was during this period that Finnair requested me to join BAR as Finnair operated on charters for 6 months of the year to Colombo.

I was Invited for the first meeting of the BAR and was asked to wait outside the room until the BAR took a decision to permit my eligibility and was told since I was GSA staff they could not permit me to attend.

As off line carriers had no voice in the Aviation business it was time to take a decision to form our own Association. The response from the other off liners was amazing and SLAAR was born on this day.

It gives me great pleasure to see that SLAAR has gone from strength to strength and it`s my sincere wish that with able leadership the Association will grow from strength to strength.

Ms. Deepthi Siriwardena - 1995 - 1997

Areas of expertise encompass Hospitality, Travel, Tourism and Commercial Aviation.

Introduction to the industry was at Mackinnons Travels in 1980.
Career in senior management began as C.E.O of Korean Air GSA & Alpha Tours handling both Airline Passenger & Cargo Operations and Travel Agency in 1989. Simultaneously was a senior Director of the Finco Group of companies.

The KE GSA handled a very lucrative all cargo freighter operation to/from Sri Lanka, and KE was the first global airline to operate full freighters to Sri Lanka. This included all operational aspects at the airport.

During this period also held office as President of Sri Lanka Interline Club, the Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives, and Sri Lanka Korea Business Association and was a committee member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Moving to the USA in 2001, Securing the Qatar Airways GSA and being the Part Owner/Director/C.E.O of the company helped the airline establish the QR brand very quickly in the North American Market. The fast growth of the off-line operation facilitated the Airline establishing an on-line operation within a short span of time. As the C.E.O of the QR GSA , was primarily instrumental in managing all travel arrangements for annual US/Qatar economic forum held in Doha , this one event generated an revenue exceeding USD 1.0M for the airline.

As the main driver of the General Sales Agency of Qatar Airways, my contribution played a definitive role in establishing QR in the World’s largest economy.

Holds a Hospitality Degree from the Ceylon Hotel School & a Diploma in Travel & Tourism from the London Institute of City and Guilds.

Mr. Ameen Saduk - 1997 - 1998

Mr. Udaya Nanayakkara - 1998 - 1999

Was GSA … Tarom Romanian, LOT Polish, JAT Yougoslav, Air Europe, Iraqi Airways, Air China.

8 year’s continuously top agent award winner for UL, many years Gulf air, many years Swissair and many more airlines online to Srilanka. The only charter operator for World Cup in Lahor when Srilanka won award, only charterer of UL flights to Sydney & Melbourne during Christmas vacation.

Principle author of the Market Development Plan with DCA concurrence applicable sale pricing of airtickets by airlines and agents from Srilanka.

A director of UFTAA for 8 years and President for the final 2 years. Involved in UFTAA/ IATA negotiations. Member representing Srilanka on the SAARC Tourism Council, speaker at many Aviation & Tourism Forums in many Countries ranging from SAARC Region, South America, Africa, Middle East, Europe, ASEAN Countries, China, Australia, USA, Russia, Eastern Europe etc.

Chairman of Srilanka Tourist Board, Chairman of Srilanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Member of Advisory Council of the Ministry of Tourism.

Founder President of IATA Agents Association of Srilanka, member of the founding team of SLAAR, President of Travel Agents Association of Srilanka, was a committee member of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and many other local & global involvements in Aviation & Tourism. On the Board of Directors of many Hotels.

Mr. Rohan Siriwardena - 1999 - 2000

A management Accountant student turned Commercial Aviation Professional with 4 decades of working experience in Airline Passenger and Cargo, Sales/Operations and Marketing. Held senior managerial positions for almost 30 years in a mix of Direct Airline and airline GSA organizations. Excelled as an Airline Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives for British Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, Jet Airways of India and Kingfisher Airlines.

As an Airline General Sales Agency staffer, held office as the C.E.O of the then prestigious Airline Division of the John Keels Group in Sri Lanka representing Gulf Air , LTU , American Airlines , Asiana Airlines to name a few. Moving to the USA and staying under the airline GSA umbrella as a C.E.O was primarily responsible for optimizing off-line sales from the North American market for Sri Lankan Airlines. Later to be designated the VP North America for Sri Lankan Airlines. Continuing the USA experience in the Airline GSA business was part owner and Director of the Qatar Airways GSA in North America. Was primarily responsible for positioning Sri Lankan Airlines in ARC (BSP equivalent) in the United States.

As an Industry leader held honorary office as a member of many related forums including Board of Airline Representatives, SLAAR, IATA working Committees, Interline Club and the Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka. Was also a member of the Senior Management Team of Sri Lankan Airlines from 1991-1995. Chairman study panel of first report on introducing BSP to Sri Lanka.

Airline Passenger/Cargo Sales, Marketing and Operations including Airport was my forte, learnt from absolute basics to be a leading professional in a trade which became a passion.

Mr. Roshan Gurusinghe - 2000 - 2002

Deputy Chairman – Ceylinco Universal Group.

Ceylinco Universal was the GSA for – All Nippon Airways, Air Mauritius, and Olympic Air.
South Asian Travels. – GSA for Kuwait Airways.

During this period Ceylinco Universal was awarded the Air Seychelles GSA and Kuwait Airways increased the frequency of flights from 3 to 5 per week.

I was also part of the Team of Ceylinco Group’s international expansion where Sri Lankan Inc. in USA was awarded the GSA for Sri Lankan Airlines.

Mr. Deanath Kulatunga - 2002 - 2003

Head of KLM/Northwest/AirFrance/Martinair Sri Lanka, as Director in charge of Carsons Group, Leisure sector at the time he was Chairman of SLAAR. I started my carrier at Singapore Airlines GSA in Sri Lanka, Aset Airways and was also at Swissair and Airlanka prior to KLM. Subsequently I was recruited as the first Country Manager of IATA to introduce the BSP programme to this country. Then posted to Singapore as the IATA Country Manager, becoming the first non-Singaporean to hold this post. Later I was the Regional Manager, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brunei and Maldives and my last position at IATA was as a member of the Regional Leadership Team Asia Pacific, as the Regional Head, Asia Pacific of IATA, Member & External Relations, based at the Singapore Regional office. I was also responsible for IATA’s Simplifying the Business programme for Asia Pacific and introduced the then new concepts such as Electronic Ticketing, Automated check-in through Internet and Kiosks and E-Freight to all Asia Pacific airlines. A Graduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK and has an MBA from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. “

Mr. Terence Pendigrast - 2003 - 2004

Worked overseas from 1971 to1977. Returned to Sri Lanka and joined Mercantile Investments group at Nilaveli Beach Hotel. Joined Voyages Ceylan, a French tour operator in Sri Lanka.

In 1080 joined the Airline industry, UTA French Airlines, later to be called Air France (direct staff) and was the first Sri Lankan to be offered the position of DGM Sri Lanka and Maldives with a full fledged power of attorney to represent the company in all matters locally.

In 1995 joined the Hayleys group as General Manager/Director/CEO of the Airline and Travel Divisions. Hayleys at that time represented and were the GSA for British Airways, Qantas Airlines, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, All Nippon Airways (cargo) ANA and Nippon Cargo Airlines NCA. Subsequently retired in 2008.

Ms. Parveen Dassenaike - 2004 - 2006

Founding member of the United Ventures Group and has been with the organization since 1995. Her expertise in the travel industry enabled her to play a key role in the company’s growing portfolio and expansion in the travel sector, culminating in her ownership of the firm in 2015.

She has worked in a diverse array of roles in the leisure sector, adding to her extensive experience in the travel trade – from sales & marketing in a five-star hotel, to administration and management for agencies representing Japan Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada & Lufthansa. Parveen’s career went on to include outbound travel, destination management and student and youth travel services with STA and ISIC.

She has served two terms as Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representative (SLAAR) and two terms as a Board Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka. Currently, she is on the Board of the Neo Synthesis Research Centre which focuses on the restoration of degraded land and environmental rehabilitation using analog forestry.

Mr. Gerard Amerasinghe - 2006 - 2007

Joined Sri Lankan Airlines as a ticketing agent in 1983 and in 1986 worked in Saudi Arabia for 2 years with British Caledonian Airlines.

On returning to Sri Lanka in 1998 joined Korean Airlines and left in 1991 to start up Worldlink Group.

Worldlink holds the GSA for South African Airlines and also had the GSA for Air New Zealand for many years.

Besides being Chairman SLAAR was also President of the Interline Club in the year 1996.

Mr. Ravi Widyalankara - 2007 - 2009

With British Airways , Sri Lanka from July 1978 to August 1981 as Reservations Assistant, Ticketing officer.

From August 1981 to August 1984, Branch Manager at Fahad Express , Sultanate of Oman – IATA approved Travel Agency.

Joined KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Sri Lanka, as Ticket Office Supervisor and Official Trainer in September 1984 to March 1995.

In March 1995 till April 2007 was the Official Trainer British Airways and Qantas Airways, Sri Lanka.

From April 2007 to March 2010, worked as the General Manager for British Airways and Qantas Airways, Sri Lanka.

Joined Go Holidays, Sri Lanka, in March 2010 till September 2012 as Executive Director.

Appointed as Director United Airlines and Air Canada, Sri Lanka, from September 2012 to June 2014.

Presently Director at United Ventures, Pvt, Ltd., since June 2014.

Ms. Minoli Perera - 2009 - 2011

I joined the travel industry in 1989 as a Sales Representative at Gabo Travels and moved to the ticket office and was later appointed Ticket Office Manager of the branch. I joined the reservations department of the GSA for KLM and Northwest Airlines in 1995 and moved to revenue management and moved up the ranks to Supervisor Ticket Office, Manager, General Manager and Director of the GSA which grew to represent Air France, Martinair and Kenyan Airways.

I left the industry in Sri Lanka to migrate to Australia in 2014. I now work with the GSA for SriLankan Airlines in Melbourne.

Lilanthi Fernando - 2011 - 2012

Chairperson 2011-2012
Inspired and honoured to have served in the Sri Lankan Association of Airline Representatives. My first SLAAR meeting as a Manager walking into the Sri Lankan Chamber of Commerce as the representative for a GSA, an image to remember and an experience to keep. Listening and observing the proceedings of the meeting was a task to achieve that day. The association has walked me through the steps of maturity in my carrier in the travel industry.
Training and development an area that I believe is important in life. My role as a training coordinator gave me the opportunity to work with younger and new recruits from the industry to help them develop. Working with other industry related personnel and gaining exposure in many areas of the industry was my gain in this role, for many years.

Accepting to be the Deputy Chairperson with Minoli Perera as the Chairperson, and the committee, who took upon a significantly impacted issue for the GSA’s. In achieving our goal, working with many government officials was challenging to all and one to remember.

Finally, as the Chairperson serving 12months, I had to bid farewell to the Travel Industry. The Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives gave me the opportunity as an individual to grow and foster my abilities, while achieving our goals with fun and activity, handing over the duties to Shammine Fernando.

“Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” —Dale Carnegie

Mr. Shaminda Fernando - 2012 - 2014

Shaminda Fernando a product of St Joseph’s College Colombo, started his aviation carrier with the National Carrier Sri Lankan airlines and then joined the John Keells Holdings.
He is handling the airline division of the group and has management experience of over 20 years.

He has undergone Leadership and Management trainings with Rubicon India, Harvard University and National University of Singapore. His areas of expertise are on handling sales & marketing activities for both online, offline airlines, cargo, GDS and airport operations.

Mr. Eustace Silva - 2014 - 2016

 

Ms. Dushy Jayaweera - 2016 - 2018

Over 38 years’ experience in the Aviation Industry and is the Managing Director of Acorn Aviation (Private) Limited. The company represents both on-line and off-line Airlines as their General Sales Agency in Sri Lanka. She has played a key role in the formation of Sri Lanka’s first Aviation Centre and has expanded the business overseas by setting up two regional offices in Thailand and the Maldives.

Dushy has taken an active part in many Travel Industry and Business related Associations and has been a Past President of the Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives (SLAAR), Skål International Colombo, the Sri Lanka-Malaysia Business Council (SLMBC) and the Travel Trade Sports Club of Sri Lanka (TTSC). She is currently a Director of Skal International Asia overlooking Membership Development in the Asian Area”

Mr. Gerard Victoria - 2018 - 2020

Gerard is an Aviation Industry professional with 37 years of experience, having held senior management and leadership positions in the Aviation and Travel business units of leading conglomerates. His breadth of experience includes strategic areas in Aviation Management such as general sales agency operations, travel agency services, airport operations and supply services, among others.

He has also been an advocate for the industry, contributing towards policy formulation and initiating business cooperation through multiple industry and trade bodies, such as the Sri Lanka – Australia – New Zealand Business Council and the Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives, in both of which he serves as the Immediate Past President, in addition to serving as an Executive Committee Member of the Sri Lanka – Indonesia Business Council. He has also served as the Secretary of the IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka and as the President of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka.

Gerard presently spearheads the Aviation and Travel vertical of Hayleys Advantis (The Aviation, Transportation and Logistics Sector of Hayleys PLC) as the Director / Chief Executive Officer, and serves as a member of its Group Management Committee.

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The Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives was formed on the 22 June 1993 with the primary goal of providing the off-line Airlines with an opportunity to voice their difficulties, to seek common solutions as well as to discuss matters pertaining to their day-to-day operations.

Contact Information

Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives (SLAAR)

No. 400, Deans Road, Colombo 10. Sri Lanka.

+94 77 7870 224

slaar@slaarcmb.com

slaar_secretary@yahoo.com

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