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COPE directs Chairman of SriLankan Airlines to submit business plan

The Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Prof. Charitha Herath, yesterday (06) directed the Chairman of the SriLankan Air Lines, Ashok Pathirage to prepare a complete business plan to make SriLankan Airlines Limited profitable and submit it to the COPE within a month.

The Committee also recommended to the Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism to study the current situation and submit a report at the Ministerial level within a month.

The Committee further recommended that an expert committee be appointed to conduct a comprehensive study and submit a report as much as earlier.

It was revealed at the COPE meeting that the loss of SriLankan Airlines Limited as at 31 March 2021 from the day it was taken over by the Government, was Rs. 372,015 million.

The total loss of the company following taxes in the year 2020/21 was Rs. 45,674 million and the operating loss has also increased, Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Charitha Herath said.

This was due to the impact of the prevailing Covid 19 situation, as well as rising costs of jet fuel, aircraft operating leasing costs and other operating leasing costs.

The Committee observed that the adverse capital conditions of the Company had reached a critical level by 31st March 2021 and was therefore facing a problematic situation regarding its operations without the assistance of the Treasury.

Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, State Ministers Ajith Nivard Cabraal, D.V Chanaka, Indika Anuruddha, MPs Rauff Hakeem, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickramaratne, Harsha de Silva, S.M Marikkar, Jagath Pushpa Kumara, Jayantha Samaraweera, Premnath C Dolawatta, S.M Marikkar, S . Rasamanikkam were present at this meeting.

The Committee observed that the Cabinet had approved for an additional investment of USD 500 million of treasury by 2020, of which USD 240 million had already been released to the Company. The Committee also paid special attention to the manner in which the money was used.

The Committee also observed that a senior management officer serving in Sri Lankan Airlines as on 31st March 2021 receives a monthly salary of Rs. 3.1 million and 82 pilots receive a monthly salary of over Rs. 02 million, another 142 pilots, 12 aeronautical engineers, 09 engineering managers and 3 top management officers of Sri Lankan Airlines receive a monthly salary of between Rs. 1 million and Rs. 2 million.

The Chairman also pointed out the need to maintain this service as a national airline.

The committee also revealed that Sri Lankan Airlines’ daily loss was Rs. 84 million and that a systematic plan was needed to make the company profitable.

The Committee commended Sri Lankan Airlines for reducing its cost by USD 66.9 million in 2019/20 and 2020/21.