11.02.2016 in Interviews, Latest by copaceticweb 0

Kanishka Wijesinghe: A leader who challenges challenges

DSC_9304In 1994, Kanishka Wijesinghe joined Expolanka with 11 years of experience in the Airline Industry. Prior to entering the airline industry, he was working in the Media field soon after school as a Freelance Programme Producer. While being employed at this job, in 1983 he came across a job vacancy at reputed Air Cargo company. He applied for this position, despite his lack of knowledge on the industry, as he loved to take up a challenge. And with his 11 years of experience in the Industry having served three legacy Airlines he joined Expolanka, where he was later appointed as the CEO of the Airline Cluster. His knowledge and experience was recognized by the industry as he is a Former President of the Sri Lanka Airline Cargo Association (SLACA). His core values of integrity, accountability and honesty and 21 years of work as the CEO of the Airline cluster known as ACR (Airline Cargo Resources FZCO) makes Kanishka a crucial factor behind the success of the Expolanka Group.

Airline Cargo Resources (ACR)

Airline Cargo Resources FZCO was established in 2002 in UAE, head quartered in Dubai as a global GSSA management company.  With a portfolio of Airline partners ACR’s network spans over 18 countries with a strong presence in the Middle East, Africa, Indian sub-continent and the Far East.

The Company offers tailor made aviation solutions to our Airline partners from infrastructure, sales and marketing, local expertise, intelligence data and financial support. ACR offers comprehensive solutions to its airline partners in cargo and passenger that include all aspects of GSSA and CSA management and provides a cost effective business model for customers who prefer to outsource their entire cargo management function.

Driven by Challenges

Kanishka had faced many challenges while working at Expolanka, as he was vested with the challenge of turning a small SBU handling one airline into a profitable subsidiary of Expolanka Holdings. Yet, he still accepts challenges with open arms.

“I am constantly intrigued by new challenges and knowing that I wake up to a new challenge drives me as a leader. There have been times that I have been weighed down by these challenges, but once I accomplish them it became an experience which helped me to face other challenges.” he stated.


Kanishka is a firm believer of accountability. He considers this to be a key component when facing new challenges. As a result this sense of accountability is a major driving factor of his team. He believes that

“Every individual is accountable for their own actions, and leaders are no exception. It is important for leaders to understand that they are responsible and accountable for their employees’ actions, as it is a reflection of theirs. This is why it is important for leaders to not be aloof with their employees.”

He further stated that accountability guides leader on what they should and should not do, much like the boundaries of a game. He confided that “I have on certain occasions accepted responsibility for my actions when it was needed, and that is what accountability is all about. You are accountable for the outcome of your actions even if it is a negative one. And my advice to someone entering a leadership position is to be honest and accountable.”


“Wise leaders are the ones whose presence, authenticity and the manner in which they communicate and engage with others is genuine and unique.” – Glenn Llopis

Authenticity, as pointed out by Glenn Llopis, distinguishes leaders from wise leaders. Kanishka’s authenticity has helped the Expolanka Group’s Airline Cluster to be above par in terms of its service quality in the Airline Industry.

He believes that this authenticity is due to his thirst for knowledge. “I read a lot; I love to read books and articles on the internet, especially biographies of other leaders. But what is important to keep in mind to only take a leaf out of the book and not the entire book.”

When facing new challenges he uses this knowledge in practice, and after a trial and error process he is able to develop new methods and systems that will overcome the challenge that was faced.

Guided by Inspiration

As much as leaders are expected to motivate their employees, the leaders motivation reflects what factors influenced the success of a business. This is why Kanishka is indebted towards his motivators. One such motivator is his father;

“I lost my father at a very young age, I think this was the point that I realized that whatever challenge that I face I need to face it or succumb to it. And this is why I always consider my father to have inspired me to face insurmountable challenges with courage.”

He also considers his alma mater St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia to have guided his progression from a boy to man.

He further stated that “I am grateful for being able to work at a company like Expolanka, especially with Mr. Hanif Yusoof and Mr. Shafik Kassim, as they recognized my talents and provided me with the opportunity to a small SBU into a profit earning global company.”

Employees are an integral part of any business unit, and this is why employee satisfaction acts as another motivator. He believes that “when employees are satisfied with their work, their output will have a positive effect on customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction.”

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