SriLankan airlines to address corruption allegations through new management structure: Chairman

Apr 27, 2015 (LBO) – State-run SriLankan airline chief says a committee has been appointed to look in to the alleged allegations made in the recent Welliamuna report and any irregularities found will be dealt through a proposed new management restructuring.

“We have a committee comprising three of our directors who are looking into these alleged allegations, but we have not made any decisions on that yet,” Ajith Dias, Chairman, Sri Lankan Airlines told LBO.

“We are talking to all of them and analyzing the whole situation and will be making the necessary changes,” “This will be in the next two to three week after the government’s approval for the new plan. Then only we can roll it out. So everything will fall into place with the new re-structuring,”

SriLankan airline’s alleged allegations and irregularities was investigated by a four member committee headed by attorney at law J.C Weliamuna.

The report found many instances of gross abuse of power and it also pointed out inconsistency in the application of the rules and regulations in the airline and this was propelled by the influence wielded by the former Chairman, Nishantha Wickramasinghe, former CEO, Kapila Chandrasena, COO, Capt. Druvi Perera and HHR, Pradeepa Kakulawala.

The report also said that there were certain irregularities in promotions and key appointments, including overseas appointments.

The airline has been a huge burden on the country with reported losses amounting to over 100 billion rupees in 2014 as revealed in parliament.

Official data shows that SriLankan and Mihin Lanka, a budget airline have lost 30.1 billion rupees in 2013, with losses over the last five years totaling 89.9 billion rupees.

Sri Lankan Airlines made a loss of 28.6 billion rupees while state-run budget airline Mihin Lanka made another loss of 1.5 billion rupees, up from a billion rupees a year earlier the annual report of the Central Bank showed.

In 2013 revenues had risen 2.9 percent to 109.5 billion rupees but operating expenses had gone up 5.1 per cent to 138.1 billion rupees.

SriLankan last made a profit in 2008 under the chairmanship of Harry Jayewardene and has been racking up losses since a management deal with Dubai-based Emirates ended.

The new Chairman says it will take another two to three years to get the airline up and running and out of the woods.

“We are carrying on as best as we can at the moment and trying to turn the airline around,” Dias told.

“It will take us two to three years to come out of the woods as they say but the final plan will take another two to three week after the government has approved the plan, then only we can roll it out,”

“We need time and the government has given us a reasonable amount of time and it takes time to do things properly.”

The airline has also cut down on some low yielding sectors to cut costs and says that they will not recruiting in the near future.

“We have taken off flights to Moscow and two flights on the London, which is due to the yield factor. So we are operating a daily flight but have cut down the twice a day to London, these are all sorts of cost cutting measures,” Dias said.

 “We are not recruiting that I am sure of only internal staff rotation and promotions and things will continue.”