Who is Suren?

Suren Ratwatte, FRAeS, is an accomplished pilot, airline executive and aviation researcher.

He became one of the world’s first Airbus A380 Captains, was previously SriLankan Airlines’ CEO and has also been featured in several books and academic publications.

  • The USA invents the airline

    The USA invents the airline

    The birth of airlines in the USA The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight actually took place in 1919 when two English flyers, John Alcock and Arthur Brown, flew a modified Vickers Vimy bomber from Newfoundland, Canada to County Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. While this won them both knighthoods and a handsome cash prize, […]

    Read More →

  • Pan Am

    Pan Am

    Pan American and flying boat era While the Big Four were connecting the continental USA from coast to coast, Juan Trippe and Lindbergh were concentrating on the overseas routes. They persuaded the US government to grant them a virtual monopoly on international routes and set out to build Pan Am into a giant airline. Their […]

    Read More →

  • Looking back to the roots – the start of the world’s airlines

    Looking back to the roots – the start of the world’s airlines

    Imperial Airways and the colonial airlines Europe in the 1920s was still reeling from the devastation of the Great War. With their treasuries emptied, a whole generation of youth dead or wounded, societies in turmoil and trust in leaders at an all time low, the governments of the day turned to aviation to try and […]

    Read More →

  • The Wright Brothers and the Miracle of Flight

    The Wright Brothers and the Miracle of Flight

    How it all began 17 December 1903  is a date that changed the future of mankind. On that cold winter’s day, on a desolate beach in a little known corner of America two bicycle mechanics, Wilbur and Orville Wright, made the world’s first sustained and controlled flight in a powered heavier-than-air machine. To call the […]

    Read More →

  • Tired of COVID let’s talk about the weather

    Tired of COVID let’s talk about the weather

    The Monsoon – a basic guide “And then the rains came….” Which they seem to have done last night in Colombo – the Southwest monsoon making an on-time arrival. The Southwest Monsoon is one of the most interesting meteorological events in the world. It is also, literally, the single biggest indicator of economic performance for […]

    Read More →

  • End of the runway for my beloved A380?

    End of the runway for my beloved A380?

    The demise of the ‘Uber Plane’ In June 2019 this column asked “Who killed the A380?”. By then it was obvious that Airbus’s flagship was not a sales success, and its eventual demise was only a matter of time. However this writer predicted that the aircraft would probably fly on for ‘at least 15 years’. […]

    Read More →

  • A new type of Bubble

    A new type of Bubble

    Travel Bubbles We have all heard of ‘financial bubbles’. Every decade or so Wall Street produces one that eats up our investments.  Students of history will recall the Tulip Bubble of 17th century Holland and the South Sea bubble a hundred years later in England, both of which led to speculative frenzies followed by financial […]

    Read More →

  • Storing all those unused aircraft

    Storing all those unused aircraft

    What do you do with an aircraft that isn’t needed? Sri Lankans of a certain age will remember the brutal recession that occurred in the 1970s. A combination of the oil crisis plus socialist economic policies, saw a rapid destruction of wealth and wholesale unemployment. The middle class of the country was practically wiped out […]

    Read More →

  • The MAX dilemma and a lost wager……..

    The MAX dilemma and a lost wager……..

    Boeing, the MAX and the Virus Boeing, the world’s oldest and (until recently) largest aircraft manufacturer, has had an ‘annus horribilis’ since the second fatal crash of the best-selling Boeing 737 MAX in March 2019. As the anniversary of the tragic crash approached, Boeing was a facing a financial crisis on top of being dethroned […]

    Read More →

  • Cargo – the last hope?

    Cargo – the last hope?

    Freight offers hope In a world reeling from the catastrophic drop in passenger traffic induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, cargo is offering some consolation to airlines. Prior to the crisis, about half the world’s airfreight was carried on passenger jets as underbelly cargo. Even on a flight full of passengers with baggage, the cargo hold […]

    Read More →