21 April, 2024


Finance Minister Ravi K Unhappy With SriLankan Airlines Management

Adding to the debt burden of SriLankan Airlines, Its Chairman Ajith Dias, CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte and Chief Commercial Officer Siva Ramachandran were seeing frolicking at the airline’s sponsored hospitality enclosure during the concluded 3rd cricket Test match played between England and Sri Lanka at Lords recently.SriLankan Airlines Hospitality Box Lords

The trio were seeing taking the airline’s ‘red to black’ cost cutting programme to a higher altitude, whilst the country’s Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake stated his displeasure co-incidentally on the last day of the test match, when questioned by media personnel during a television interview.

“In absolute honesty, No ! ” was the answer Minister Karunanayake gave when the question was posed if he was happy in the manner the national carrier was being managed.

Lamenting further about the board of directors the Minister said ” They are inexperienced, but they are much better than the previous lot, but have still not delivered up to expectations”.

The Finance Minister Karunanayake also stated that the contingent liability of the airline had risen to a staggering sum of was Rs 467 billion and the resulting per capita debt brought about by the national carrier was costing every Sri Lankan national in the country a whopping sum of Rs 23,000 each.

However recently Prime Minister Wickremesinghe promised to bail out the loss making airline by wiping out its deficit of approximately US $ 3.2 billion. This is simply to just keep the existing airline afloat and continue to have its 7000 staff employed.

A recently retired captain speaking on condition of anonymity said “In the midst of these sheer difficult times faced by the airline, it is disheartening to note that Chairman Dias,CEO Ratwatte and CCO Ramacandran of the national carrier are behaving in this manner. This is similar to vultures or hyenas feasting on the carcass of a dead animal”.

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  • 7

    Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

    //In absolute honesty, No ! ” was the answer Minister Karunanayake gave when the question was posed if he was happy in the manner the national carrier was being managed.//

    //Lamenting further about the board of directors the Minister said ” They are inexperienced, but they are much better than the previous lot, but have still not delivered up to expectations”.??

    Give them milestones and targets to achieve.

    Let them know that not performing makes their jobs at risk, makes the Airline subject to bankruptcy and it is a loos for all.

    However, before bankruptcy, many heads will roll, and replaced with new heads.

  • 13

    There is no accountability in SL and hence Ajith and Suren are not answerable to the massive losses piling up every day. For the record May 2016 loss is Rs 1 billion even with fuel prices below USD 50 per barrel.

    The projected loss for June 2016 is another Rs 1 billion and may go up by a bit more when you add the costs of this trio partying in UK during the Lords cricket test.

    I have now realized that the best thing is to work for the govt since you have a good time on tax payer money and you are not held accountable.

    This is the state of all SoEs in Sri Lanka.

  • 7

    Who is this joker .

    The FX reserves are only a 3rd of what it was in December 2015.

    All Infrastructure projects have been stopped.

    No even one new real job, after 18 months of Yahapalanay, Except the few Govt jobs which Rajitha and Son collected for their stooges in Kalutara and Ganpaha

    And he carries on about paying Debts .

    Why pay the loans if the work is stopped. Are they penalty payments?

    Or are you refinancing the old Debt for your mates a get a cut?.

    Air Lanka has 600 Billion Debt, But it has a fleet of Air Buses.

    Batalanada’s mate the Singaporean fixed 2 lots of Bond at 2.65 % more than the market rate?.

    Which amounts to 40 Billion LKR in total.

    Are there any collateral for this colossal Debt?

    Wonder what this Batalanada’s new destiny is?

    Is it to put the Yahapalana suckers on “Brazilian Crack” instead of Kerala Herb?.

    • 8

      my dear Sumana, this airline was profit making before your beloved boss kicked out the old Emirates man because he denied to give MR and his stooges the privilaged seats for their jolly ride. Since then the airline is loosing money and who got the job to run it? pof course one from the clan; MRs brother in low, the sex tourist with the poker face. Guess who ruined the airline the “batalanda ranil” or the “bodi sira”? you seems to suffer under selective amnesia. apropos what happened to the Hambantote port and the Matara airport? no landings, no ships and no monies the only one profited from thoes projects is the alibaba clan and nobody else. it is a record that all major projects of the master suffered the desaster….bird flocks around the runway big rock on harbor gate etc. you keep on blaming the present govt. it may help to forget the affairs of your master.
      would you tell me what do you have against the present govt.? are they worse than the alibaba clan? or are you one of the 40 thieves? there should be something?

  • 7

    “This is simply to just keep the existing airline afloat and continue to have its 7000 staff employed.”

    so each of us have to pay 23000 rupees each to keep 7000 jobs going.Slash it to 5000 immediately and get rid of this management and send them home.bring in a foreign CEO to do the necessary cutbacks and tell him 5000 employees is the maximum.Even better close up the ruddy thing and send everyone home.

  • 4

    Dist sponsored Ravi so Harry will walk in to clean it up. Poor beers, prices increased and now losses mount as they backed Harsha.

  • 6

    Historic picture!

    The ship is sinking, but the band plays on.

    Or as they say in Old Kotte; Nava gilunath band choon!

  • 2

    In the highly competitive business world today, top management is expected deliver & there are always deadlines. Rewards are great for those who do so but face the axe if unable to deliver. Loss making giants are no longer propped up by the state (it’s illegal in the EU), a good example being British Steel, formerly state owned, now owned by Tata, which will be closed down if unable to find a buyer soon as the British Govt. is legally unable to assist with any form of concessions, apart from assisting with the negotiation process of the sale. So Mr Ravi K, give Sri Lankan Airlines a deadline to pull up their socks or face bankruptcy. The SL tax payer has been propping up this white elephant long enough & it is only the cronies of successive govt. who have benefited with exorbitant salaries & perks.

  • 5

    It is shocking that these guys are so insensitive that they get free tickets and hotel stay etc from the poor citizens who are now being taxed to pay for the losses.

    When will we find a honest man

    Definitely not in the company of Ranil and co

  • 4

    As we have said earlier, there is no doubt about their incompetency in Airlines management and progress in past year or so. Ajith Dias and Suren Ratwatte must understand their responsibility and work according to the heartbeat of the Airline. But what they have done is totally unacceptable. But that is not there fault. Its our fault. Peoples fault. We shouldn’t keep quiet for this kind of atrocities to the airline.Just look at how Emirates or Quatar Airline manages!Look at how Singapore Airline manage? Learn from them or go home. We dont need to maintain bunch of Cows from tax payers money! there are plenty of capable people to do the job wisely.

  • 4

    I believe that they are entitled to a certain number of free air tickets each year.
    Under Air Ceylon, even family members were so entitled.
    Such free tickets are part of many airlines’ salary package – like free railway warrants for public servants.
    As to their enjoyment, this is the right of any Sri Lankan.

    The performance of the airline is a different question.
    What can the new government do with excess staff and their perks it inherited?
    Maybe award “golden handshake retirements” and may be they can obtain jobs else where.
    Can 7,000 persons be sacked?

    The minister has explained how with the economic burden inherited from the former regime, how they are forging ahead and at the same time trying to recover lost funds and minimise burdens on the people.

    The minister has also explained the ongoing Central Bank fiasco and it seems reasonable.

  • 5

    I don’t think the minister can point fingers at the management of SL airlines as he himself wanted to appoint a family member to the management team. He withdrew that appointment amidst much protest. Having said that, yes! the SL airlines team is inexperienced in the category of airline management and needs review. Ravi K’s comments doesn’t vindicate him of his own actions.

  • 4

    So we have the Finance Minister himself no lamenting but the Royal College trio (thanks to Ranil) keep batting seemingly unaware of a target.

    The better lot of staff are leaving in disgust or being terminated for exposing dangerous practices of the airline while the crooks hang on. Captain Pujitha Jayakodi is a classic example of the worst crook hanging on like a leech

    Fly in another airline

    Way to go Yahapalanaya !

  • 3

    Capt. Suren Ratwatte was famously known for never even buying a drink for his crew on lay overs, unlike other captains.These freebies must be like magic for him. Who is the scavenger, vulture and hyena out of these three?

  • 1

    “This is similar to vultures or hyenas feasting on the carcass of a dead animal”. All the top politicians and the top men running this tragi comedy show called Sri Lankan Airlines have at all times been vultures. This is why it continues to bleed and bleed the country as well.

    Shut that bloody airline down. It is and will always be a plaything of the powerful. For their fanciful and corrupt behaviour the citizens have doled out over Rs 23000 each, every man, every child and every penniless gamarala as well.

    Are we the most stupid citizens in the world or what?

    • 1

      BBS Closing this airline is easy, however the workers their families also so many living off this industry,will suffer heaps and will be an added burden for the country and the Govt.This could be a turning point for the governing party.This company is in this state due to bad political choices.From Premadasa era politicians have plagued in to this industry.As senior people from this city we can tell you how and who made millions from this Aviation industry.Some ministers gave unlimited traffic rights to Gulf carriers for 5 million US dollars,or Rolex watches,Aeroplane flew to Fukuoka to off load orchids for another politician, the online ticket issuing business was given out for Rs. 8 million as commission per month shared by some members in the family.I have seen A340 aircraft with 314 seats going with the king seated in 1A alone!List can go on.How could you close this airline when the company was raped and sodomised by every political vulture who comes by every season.Today if PM was so serious in turning this company,why would he give it to his close friends to again mismanage this airline ? One minister says no one will buy it for one Rupee, the other says we could only bury this airline. Our future is tourism but look at the subject minister appointed.Remember we breed pilots and engineers,our people write Manuels for other airlines,our pilots are flying big aeroplanes for other so many leading airlines. We can turn this company in 16 months,Most People here are masters in the game. Some just survive licking and agreeing to all politicians to mismanage for their own survival.Emirates knew this they came here to strategically slow down Sri Lankan. Today this new management is feeling their way in the dark. Nothing done with a positive impact,they are in conflict with Pilots,cabin crew,and commercial departments are run by people who Okayed everything for last regime.Show them a tangible positive impact and they will show you the money.Don’t just believe all what cheap law makers say,only talk with no action to get votes. You want to change it yes we can. Don’t have to beg for buyers and pay millions for top slots to again politically vandalise this airline.Very few want to give their knowledge,ideas to the management till you show some sincere interest.Remember we are in people’s business,alas you have screwed it

  • 1

    These guys have the right to enjoy .
    Why not ! if the politicians have the right to make merry so why not everybody else.
    It will eventually trickle down to the man on the road that he / she has the right to enjoy.
    The end is total anarchy in the making and waiting. Lankans have proven that they are disloyal people and time is a witness that will testify against them.

    Its a shame, a damned shame but what can you expect from pea brained fossils.

    Sri lanka a lovely country, a land of blessedness, a land of plenty, a land of great serenity, gradually raped, looted, misused, and finally destroyed. because of ugly minded people.

    ” If thy grace thou should take away, nothing pure in man would stay, all his good is turned to ill.”

  • 0

    Perhaps Etihad or Qatar can help. If they use Etihad Ranil and Mangala can take the lead in renegotiating and stopping this waste.

  • 0

    I doubt any other airline will touch them with a barge pole now. Governments need to support national carriers. Unfortunately not a single government in power over the years truly cared about our national airline. This is a goose that lays golden eggs, so why kill it. All appointments such as Chairman, CEO, Board of Directors etc; have always been political appointments. Currently Ajith Dias is a disgrace. Shameless to the core. But he is a businessman first and will feather his nest. He does not care nor does he give two hoots. CEO Suren is on his retirement leg and is currently rewarded with a package with is at least three times his salary as a pilot with Emirates Airline. His knowledge on running a business is zero. A total misfit. He is also a shameless guy. The Board of directors are the biggest jokers. Rakhitha Jayawardena is the only guy with a bit of airline experience. But he is a businessman too. Brito, Niranjan Deva Aditya are simply friends of Prime Minister Ranil W. They have been rewarded for their friendship. I doubt they would ever voice anything at board meetings cos here is a group of guys who don’t have a clue of how an airline should be run. Wonder what they discuss at board meetings. Unions within the airline have sprung up. They are demanding their pound of flesh too. HR Head in order to keep his job afloat gives into the demands of the Unions. Everyone is having a field day. Finance Minister said that every Sri Lankan is taxed Rs 23,000 by this airline’s debt. Imagine a poor family of 5, what cant they do with Rs 23,000 x 5 = Rs 115,000 ? Shame shame, shame. The biggest shame is where we all got played out by this government between Jan 8th 2015 and August 2015. They started an investigation into the airline and gave everyone hope that they were going to put the culprits behind bars. That Weliamuna investigation was just a big joke to give people hope and to get people to vote for them during the August 2015 General Elections. Same thing like Thajudeen’s body being exhumed. They are just playing with the feelings of the masses. That’s it. There is not any one politician that could be trusted. There is not one honest politician to even vote for. This airline should be scrapped off. Other airlines could fly our tourists in. Look at Maldives. They don’t have this problem, but their resorts are full and their tourism industry is booming. If in honesty this airline is to continue it has to be run by a dictator like Harry J. Work or home. Deliver or bugger off home, Harry J would say. As Sri Lankans it is sad but thats the way they have to be treated cos thats the only corporate language they understand. Give them an inch and they will demand a foot. This is how staff will shut their mouths and get down to work. Otherwise before we know it every national in Sri Lanka will be burdened not by Rs 23,000 but even by Rs 230,000 in next to no time. Ranil Wickremesinghe has lost it now sadly. He has simply proved what we knew all along.

  • 0

    As an author who written extensively on the subject, I would ask CEO Capt ratwatte and Chairman Ajith Dias to read the lead feature in the current “FORTUNE”(June 15, 2016) magazine titled: Leadership,art of doing the unpopular. Very educating.

    Instead we see them doing just the opposite.Do read the daily Mirror (SL) on 10 and 11 December 2015 on UL (could be equally useful)!


  • 1

    A certain UAE nation with a,top airline has many top gay CEOs, cabinet members etc. I think Mangala and PM and people like Sagala and Akila need a delegation to sell UL to them.

  • 0

    Why won’t you guys check on facts and also cross check statements by reaching out to the persons you are targeting in these articles? Balanced and real journalists usually get both sides of each story no? This sounds more like a partisan blog than an investigative piece. What I say is please always solicit comments and views of all sides involved in a news article like this. Also it is my understanding is that all airlines give a certain quota of free or discounted tickets to all permanent employees. This includes all US Carriers even the ones losing money because that IS part of their remuneration packages and contracts they sign. If I am not mistaken even cabin crew members and ground staff all get these allowances.

    I was once at Madam Tussaud’s in London and ran into a group of very smart looking Lankans and I asked them where there were from because they were speaking Sinhalese. They said they worked for Sri Lankan airlines and were on holiday. They were cabin crew members. I am not defending appearances or certain acts but free tickets are part of the deal. After leaving High School, I wanted to join Singapore Airlines for that reason in 1978; I of course did not make it beyond the second round of interviews!

    Perhaps what is best for UL is a partnership with a global airline like one of the top MidEast carriers ? But that may have to be after the Govt absorbs some of the debt if it wants a national flagship. Perhaps also with that, UL should get rid of the vanity routes in a hurry. For example the flight to Rome was kept because Catholic bigshots told MR to keep it. I was shocked to hear even the almost alway full LHR-CMB flight does not make money. I must say I had excellent service, excellent in-flight entertainment centers, clean and spacious economy class seats on two recent UL flights. One was from LHR to CMB and the other was CMB to DOH. In fairness, the staff were great and the flights were great. Only the food on LHR-CMB sector was a bit insipid compared to my previous experiences. I had not flown UL in at least a decade because of price considerations and routes and convenience. So I think the staff are still nice. I did notice to my resentment on the CMB-DOH flight they only gave a customer survey card to my wife who does not happen to be brown! I would have loved to fill one too and given positive reports. Maybe they assumed I was a SL citizen.

    For what purpose? Also in recent years, I think UL after joining the OneWorld Alliance seems to be doing better. But it can simply be a regional carrier and focus on the lucrative routes. The previous government did such a terrible number and wasted so much money on buying planes for routes it did not need, that you cannot simply blame these guys. I feel like your paper never challenged Nishantha W and rest during the MR days and now relentlessly attacking people almost because you feel guilty for not holding the previous regime accountable for their actions. Sure, go after people but should you not investigate all sides of a story and seek comments from people who are being eviscerated?

    I feel frightened at some of the nasty evil personal attacks people launch under the guise of anonymity if someone expresses an opinion. A wonderful close friend of mine since we were 16 and the bloke is very successful in the private sector in SL and has also made a big mark overseas before returning to SL to be MD of a IT company(a self made dollar billionaire bachelor playboy who hates corruption and is very blunt about UNP or MR or anyone in politics, said ” Machang, in Sri Lanka Sinhala people wait for you to fail; they want you to fail instead of cheering you on to succeed and do well so then they can laugh behind your backs”. I think that is happening even now vis-a-vis UL. Hope everything works out well.

  • 0

    Correction about my friend I refer to. Dollar millionaire in his own right NOT billionaire. Has won many awards from his parent company m dedicated man.still doesn’t live ostentatiously. People like him hate politicians and over a,couple drinks he will unleash on some of the corrupt UNP or SLFP people who are out to make a quick buck.

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