18 August, 2022


Ranil To Rescue SriLankan Airlines

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today announced that the government has decided to absorb the SriLankan Airlines debts amounting to a staggering US$ 3.2 billion, in a last ditch attempt to ‘save’ the country’s national carrier.

Ranil WIn an effort to save the carrier from further losses, Wickremesinghe has also ordered the airline to immediately cancel the order of four A350 aircrafts.

Wickremesinghe also said that the government was looking to partner SriLankan with a foreign airline, similar to the deal struck between SriLankan and Emirates, during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s period, in an effort to convert the airline into a profit making venture. The Cabinet has already given Wickremesinghe’s proposal the greenlight.

The decision to absorb the national carrier’s debts comes when the government itself is already saddled with its own debts. In March, Wickremesinghe revealed in Parliament that his government was trapped in an almost Rs. 10 trillion debt, mainly left by the previous administration.

SriLankan which recorded a profit of Rs. 4.4 billion in 2008, took an appalling nosedive having suffered a whopping loss amounting to Rs. 107 billion, when the airline’s administration was under Nishantha Wickramasinghe, the brother-in-law of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.


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  • 11

    An SOS message for PM Ranil

    Pls send CBK, who brokered a deal with
    Emirates, urgently to have a discussion with ruler of Dubai, his highness Sheik Mohamed and renegotiate a fresh deal with Emirates.
    His Highness may even settle the airline debts on easy repayment
    terms if properly approached with facts.

    Known devil is Better than an unknown devil, they say.

    • 1

      Yes do it so CBK and Chandana de Silva once again could earn something now that both are retirees/soon to be.It is very interesting to note how even the UNP is now praising the deal while it was critizied when they were in power during CBKs time as President.

      • 4

        Putting the blame on CBK cant solve the problem. In her days, Airline made profit, though 51% shares were given to Emirates and emirates managed to profits. Lankens should first learn the need of the hour. There are no other option either since we are another hungry nation of the earth. Had we been blessed with oil or other reources things would have ended up much better AND different for us.

        I believe, SLanken will surely find a good partner to work with soon. No doubt about that. flight staffs are standard only the heads were the ones to be put the blame.

  • 16

    Hon RW,

    It is time that you took a better look at the whole sorry saga of a national airline for Sri Lanka.

    The miserable airline has been draining the country for decades now. All CEO’s without exception have mismanaged the airline. It has even been a personalised private airline of powerful politicians at times. The management and the running of all areas of the airline has been utterly inept due mostly being a dumping ground for jobless and aimless relatives and well wishers of the nepotistic politicians.

    If SriLankan Airlines was a real commercial venture the owners would have claimed bankruptcy decades ago.

    Shut it and shut it now. Send all the employees home with a redundancy payout (will prove worthwhile in the long run). Sell off all the assets.

    Or simply privatise it and wash the government hands off it for ever.

    • 6

      Long ago Singapore Airlines wanted to guide them, but Lankans said no thanks. Then Emirates came to rescue, but didn’t take the opportunity either, because wasn’t smart enough to understand Lankans needed help.

      Ranil is not smart, he can’t do any better. Privatization is the only option to let the smart people to takeover from other country. Ranil is not a savior, he promised to increase the government employees’ salary to win the election. He still increased the salary after seeing the current financial crisis of the country. No matter who wins the election, only fools continue to run the countries in South Asia, especially in Sri Lanka which has been fighting since the independence because the West is too good and got all the talented South Asians by creating divisions and disasters. Few of us who returned to do something good, but the fools don’t see our skills and talents either. That is why I call South Asia “A white man’s playground.”

      • 7

        Who is this partcular Anthony -the know all.. how can he be informed more than insiders ? Typical lanken idiots, not knowing the gravity of the problems to add the kind of cesspit thoughts just hurt only.

        Both RW and My3 both did their best to save the country from being black listed by UNO, …. during the last few months … all these were the issue Srilanken to sink that way.. guys from Europe did not travel by srlanken since their charges were higher than Emirates. I fly usually by Emirates, because of their reliablity. There were cases, Frankfurt Srilanken counter had closed for passengers 45 miniutes before the flight take off. This cannever be the case even with EU domestic airlines. So the service was so bad to the end of last year.
        Earlier I thought we nevetheless should use our airline since it is srilanken. But with the time, I realized Meeharaka led his play brother in law ate out the airline once was listed witht he powerful ones in asia. Even awards won by Airline for their great services. But ballige putha for his pitty political gains, destroyed the carrier as nothign could help today.
        Rajaakshes are like frogs in wells, they live with growing inferiority complex… if they open their mouth pieces only attacking the other… how can they get on with foreign community if they cant get along with colombo people. That is the simple question. My agony is that much.. so regardless of the topic, I add all my hateful thougths towards the previous adminstration and the fall of Airline to the levels.

        • 0

          Smartness and poshenss is not going to fill mouth of hungry people!
          You need strong leaders with vision.
          I just dont see any quality in Ranil that characterize him as a dignified gentleman, Lately he has become a joker in the parliament and making sick jokes to people!

          • 6

            Man be honest to you man…
            if not for Ranil, how woud they have held talks with IC after the govt is formed.
            Boston experts has named him as one of the powerful leaders in entire asia – his speech held as Boston two years ago was recognized by all big heads inteh world. Just to attack the person this way is no acceptable. His perseverance.. had worked hard to keep the party intact was a greater work actually. Sure, if we had Lalith Athu and Gamin Dis live today, RW would noth have been gotten chances. But as the last man of troica, he is the man right the moment to rely on.

            Rajaakshe was like a square peg in a round hole for lanken development. His frog ina well mentality with all nationlistic harboring cant bring this nation forward. no way.
            He proved to be more LIKE WIMAL BURUWANSE rather than anyone else. Collective forces in his term put the end to the war. meaning not that Rajaakshe are given liceneces to abuse allthe assets of the people.
            Why the current Duo stay uncovering them to the nation is due to their own political agendas. If justice was given 1 priority, even after the stupid folks similar to your nature, would still not allow to go for peaceful poltiics.
            They are so abusive by nature. Only awareness programms towards KINDNESS AND EQUALITY/Law and order, will guide them to sense.
            See the rapidly increse of all various crimes today are consequences Rajakahse being unable to investigate anything.

            Today the picture was nice to me this morning… Even powerful minister Ranawaka is marching to Courts… in the days of your god father … most abusive lanken leader… not even high crime perpetrators were taken to custoy by the police daily influenced by the Regime:

            • 3

              Ranil didn’t win the election, but India and the West did for him. It says a lot about Ranil’s ability isn’t it? Ranil is behind the foreign powers more than you think. He is a danger man as Tamil diaspora leaders.

    • 2

      An attempt to rescue Wickremasinghe, by Ranil W

  • 4

    Mmmmmmm……. Let me think! Why don’t we ask Emiratesagain!!

  • 3

    if we have 3.2 bln debts that is far too much for the public to absorb.So liquidate the airline.With whatever assets pay off the creditors,but public money should no go to pay off creditors.This is the only way to teach creditors who give money to swindlers in the government a good lesson for the future.

  • 8

    Mr ranil when you utter only words go out of YOUR mouth but from public’s it’s money .u r paying from public’s money.. Why should we pay for these bloody rogues. I’m sure these rogues have enough n more stolen money. Get them to pay.

  • 6

    Dear BBS Rep,
    Are you living in dream land? This airline has a majority OD good and dedicated workers from pilots to engineers to accountants to technicians,administrative staff and cabin crew,do you think closing the Airline is easy as ABC,what if you were an employee who has worked in this airline for 30 years?please do not exhibit your ignorance.
    This is the same Airline which was Run by Emiraets who never asked a red cent from the Govt,who looked after the staff and elevated the standards of this airline,what happened next?the so called high and the mighty took over and the rest is history.
    Why should the employees who have dedicated the whole life to the company suffer for the sins committed by those goons?The people whom you say who come and go,who make the most important financial deals like purchasing Aircraft and equipment,rwhy are you not demanding for their skins?
    If you were a dedicated loyal efficient employee in this company would you comment like this?
    Get a life mate?

    • 3


      Your concerns as an Employee could very well be understood and appreciated though bulk of stake holders(Tax payers) may want to agree with the views of BBS Rep.

      I am sure the Airline has many dedicated and efficient workers across many areas and the current status of the Airline does not in anyway reflect on their capabilities but on the follies of Higher Management and their acolytes instead.

      Now BBS Rep has recommended two different course of actions.One to close down the Airline and the other to Privatize the Airline which I believe is the saner proposal.

      No Airline can run without staff and as such even under Privatization I am sure most of the staff who claim to be efficient would definitely find employment and any fears of yours would be allayed.

      • 1

        Thanks Shevan,

        Your answer is quite apt with regards to responding to Vimani.

        The crux of the issue is not the efficiency or dedication of employees. But the airline running at a loss for 3 decades. There is no end in sight with regards to the woes of this airline.

        Imagine how much development we could have engaged in with the US$3.200,000,000. How many hospitals could have been upgraded. How many schools which are in dire states of disrepair be repaired. How many bridges built.

        And now RW is taking approximately US$150 from every living soul in Sri Lanka including the poor gamaralas to prop up this high flying, highly corrupt, loss making enterprise. And he is pumping this money knowing bloody well that come end of next year he will have to take more dollars off gamaralas to prop up this terminally ailing monstrosity.

        Shut it down or privatise.

  • 4

    What is the need for a “national carrier”? Just sell it and sell landing rights to foreign airlines. With that and other revenues the airport can pay for its upkeep. Politicians’ travel should be curtailed and when they do have legitimate reason to travel, should travel tourist class, with “the people” they adore so much. If they want to travel business class, they should be asked to pay the difference.

  • 4

    By doing this, on the one side RW is showing himself to be a patriot. On the other side, he is burdening the country to pay for the criminal wastage of public funds by all wrong doers who caused such a waste. The third issue is that no action is taken to permanently solve the recur of such wastage. That is to say that RW is keeping the door open for the commission of abuse of power in future too. People must decide whether we need such leaders or other current politicians who are not taking steps to prevent such wastage to govern the country in future. All are keeping the door open to rob.

  • 2

    Batalanada may save Srilankan, But who is going to save Srilanka from Batalanda?..

    That is the 64 Million Ruppiah question facing the deshapremi inhabitant majority, who are increasingly getting nervous by the day.

    I am talking about the great majority who are the poor rural Sinhala Buddhists who have no other place to call home, unlike the Tamils and the Muslims whom are the main beneficiaries of this Batalanadan PM.s Yahapalanaya .

    By the time Batalanda karks it, the Nation will be well and truly divided in to three federal states , one for the Tamils , one for the Muslims and the other for the Mulims, Tamils , Sinhalese, Burgers, Estate Tamils . and the Gypsies.

    With in that, it will be two sub states, one for the Elite and the other for the rest.

    Vellala politicians are now well organized to get their Federal State of Eelaam by hook or by crook..

    They will get it with the help of Batalanda PM, the Hindians and the West through the UN, even our inhabitants reject it in a referendum.

    TNA racist politicians openly invading the Army Camps in the North which liberated the Nation from the LTTE terrorists is a classic example of how seriously the security of the Nation has deteriorated.

    Going hand in hand with these invasions, the ex LTTE hierarchy who were released are now organizing themselves again with the help of these politicians.

    The arrest of two LTTE Intelligence heads one in the North and the other in the East are not pointing to any reconciliation.

    It looks like the default position which the Vellala Politicians are putting in place, before the bargaining begins.

    President who was hired to keep the Sinhala Buddhists under control has lost control of the UNP dominated government.

    He is spending our tax payers money to save his ass for the next four years come what may, and create political careers for his lovely son and equally lovely daughter.

    Batalanada PM has nothing to worry as long as he fulfils his undertakings to the Vellalas and the West.

    Srilankan Airlines is no different to any other major airline , when it comes to debt.

    All these bullshit from Batalanda Ranil is to make him look like the hero hoping to roll the SLFP at the next election.

    I wish I had a crystal ball to see whether the Federal Eelaam and Federal Whabiland will be in place before the Election.

  • 0

    Oh. Srilankan????????????????

  • 1

    Sri Lankan Airlines to be rescued

    Its good news. Sri Lankan is not the only airline which has got into trouble. Turning around and making profits within 2.5 years to 3.5 is attainable; the returns are even shorter than Building a 50 room hotel project, considering the bail out investment – peanuts!!

    Sri Lankan is now in a good position to go in for equity participation by the general public. This again will bring in closer scrutiny and transparency, a viability. Joint venture partners must look into aggressive marketing strategies, aimed at sri lankans as a whole.

    Expatriates SL`s are now into 3rd generation as well and totals up to 3 million. (customers). The mid east market remains round 1.5 million Sri Lankan`s and ought to be the target market in consolidating Mihin Lanka and Sri Lankan. If carefully schemed, the latter market is huge, thereby, sustaining tourism`s off-season potentials in promoting such in other parts of the world as well.

    Consumer incentives for flying Sri Lankan/Mihin is vital. Many long haul flights off-loading in Mid east/Turkey /Iran,where aviation fuel is cheaper and linking up with SL/Mihin is envisaged. Sri Lankan had no problems with load factors and over 73%; Mihin, 92%. What is your problem? All European air lines on short haul, 3-5hrs flying time are on 92% load factor.

    Owing to pressure and undercutting, a Joint Venture partner from Mid east ought to be looked at with caution, provided SL is given a free hand on the mid east- Colombo sector or even Pacific-Asia sector. Selecting a good marriage partner will come to be the dominant factor when SL is providing a “Good Dowry”!!


  • 0

    I may be wrong, I have a feeling that Mahinda had to order these new air busses as a PR exercise forced apon to appease EU!
    Else someone had a field day with commissions?

    • 0

      Good point could have been a peace deal with EU.it’s not funny but everything boils down to Euro and pounds.That may be one of the reasons for this huge buy.Then will it crack the newly wedded night out betweet SL and Europek ? For sure someone must have made some millions in the process. All eligible vultures were in MR camp.

    • 2


      “I may be wrong, I have a feeling that Mahinda had to order these new air busses as a PR exercise forced apon to appease EU! “

      I still cannot understand as to why Mahinda would have appeased EU when he single-handedly kept the world powers, including USA, Europe, …. at bay and overpowered them when all these countries wanted to rescue VP and his LTTE.

      Can I have your plausible justification for his fear of EU’s wrath and his subsequent failed diplomacy at the expense of the Needy?

      You did not personally suffer any financial losses due to MR’s failed diplomacy? Did you?

  • 3

    The only time this colossal waste of money we really cannot afford, is if the Airline’s 40% was sold off to the willing Emirates and let them manage it. Then the Airline might return to profit and offset the debt in a few years, instead of a millstone hanging around our necks for generations

  • 3

    Looking at the history of our national carrier I think if you really look at the feasibility it is not worth bailing out. The industry very competitive world over. Better invest the money in tourism and agricultural crop that will assist our GDP.

    • 3

      Totally agree with you.It would not be worthwhile to pursue on this venture any longer specially if the Government is going to have a stake(even minor) for time and again it has proven beyond any doubt Government cannot run any Business let alone Airline.

      If there is any reason for this country to have an Airline of its own,let it be run by the Private sector whether with Foreign collaboration or otherwise.The only involvement the Government should have is on the area of Traffic Rights.

      Can those still supporting the involvement of the Government in running this Business could give us one example of a successful Airline which is managed by the State ? I would preempt anyone mentioning either Emirates or Ethihad for though wholly owned by their respective States,they are being managed and run effectively by professional Management without any interference .Even after 68 years post Independence and successive Governments we are no where near achieving such status.

      On the other hand much has been said about the need to have a National Carrier specially by the Hotel and Tourism sectors in promoting the Tourist arrivals to the country.I wonder if the opportunity arises would the leading Hoteliers and the Travel Trade invest in the Airline instead of always trying to piggyback on Government knowing very well that they would not be running any risks

  • 2

    We are now blaming the huge losses to the Sri Lankan Airlines due to appointment of Nishantha Wickramasinghe, the brother-in-law of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the chief administrator who had no qualifications except for his family connections. All that is fine but have we learnt any lessons from this? The answer is a Definite NO!

    Very soon the Government will have to rescue the Sri Lanka Telecom and we know why and it too will have the same story, unqualified brother of the President Maithripala Sirisena been appointed to run the industry.

    Ultimately it is the tax payer who have to bear the brunt by tax increases and the ordinary people due to increase in prices of essential commodities while the politicians live comfortably!

  • 1

    the loss of US$ 3.2 billion is really staggering. A regional airline like Srilankan can never make to break even with so much debt on its books. The western airliner like Lufthansa or Air France can manage to survive with such a big debt, because they have the assets in their books and can dole the money from banks. I would recommend Mr. Wickramasinghe to make an inventory of the airlines to assess the real value of the carrier before pumping more money into it. The simple logig is “if by pumping US$ 3.2 billion the carrier could be turned into a profitable business, then there will be potential buyers already knocking at the door” but nobody sees or hears about a potetial buyer. The Srilankan is bankrupt already, the only remeady is to sell the assets and payoff as much as possible the debts, with that the normal public do not have carry this burden.

  • 2

    There is no purpose for the PM to have press interviews to disclose colossal wastage and loss of finances purely due to incompetence by appointing unqualified people for the job simply to satisfy the family of politicians. He is merely trying to divert people’s attention from what is happening right under his nose, when it is the President’s own brother who is at the helm of Sri Lanka Telecom, who is totally unqualified to be the head. I understand he is messing up the service which until now was performing extremely well. Soon we will hear of a another money spinner going bankrupt due to mismanagement.

  • 1

    It has to be a Middle Eastern Airline that has to come to our rescue. The Emirates deal was one if we had stuck to it would have paid dividends and we would have been hand in glove with one of the world’s leading airline. Of course Emirates took the advantage of the airports they had no access to getting a piggy back ride on Sri Lankan but it was a “you scratch my back and I scratch yours”.What happened to the Emirates deal is now history when Peter Hill didnt accede to divert a plane to carry a Government delegation and then hey presto the deal was dealt a knock out blow.
    I hope a very reputable airline like Qatar Airways will come to our rescue and having a leader like Ranil Wickremasinghe at the helm the airline can be assured that there will be no unreasonable requests like what happened in the past.Further investor confidence is being built up with the EU lifting the ban on fishing exports, leading lending instituitions are now ready to bail out Sri Lanka,Chinese and japanese investors are planning to invest in Sri Lanka and the likelihood of the GSP concession being restored just to name a few. Further more concessions for investors are assured in JUne. All in all Sri Lanka is slowly but surely being earmarked as a suitable place for investment and Ranil’s diplomacy seems to be bearing fruit.
    So lets all pray that a good airline like Qatar or Ethihad steps in and lifts Sri Lankan soaring back to the skies and thereby save the jobs of first the Sri Lankan Airlines Pilots and the thousands that work at all levels at Sri Lankan Airlines

  • 0

    She an and BBS Rep,
    I do agree with you when you mention about the tax payer as, I too contribute a fair amount,not only Srilankan Airline but so many places where successive govt and its appointees have ransacked the coffers and virtually run it to ground.
    The directions and policy making are done by govt appointed directors who come and go,why aren’t they accounted for?
    Why should the innocent employees suffer?As far as SLA is concerned the top guys were almost 100 % govt appointed and were temporarily placed.

  • 1

    Hon. RW

    Why don’t you look at all the unnecessary expenses Srilankan is making as of now. To name a few:

    1. Former CEO of Srilankan, brother of Sajin Vaz Goonewardena is in UK for the past 5 years. Initially he was posted as Director UL after his term as CEO. He was paid over UK Pounds 10,000 plus housing and various other perks. No one knew what he did during this time. Now he is again extended his term by UNP government as Regional Manager Europe with similar package. It is a well-known fact that he is just passing his time there just to get his UK citizenship. Srilankan can easily save over UK Pounds 250,000 per year (LKR 522,50000) if you scrap this post and get him to work in Sri Lanka like the other Regional Managers of Srilankan.
    2. Stop operating to all routes especially in Europe which are making huge losses. No point in continue these destinations if Srilankan cannot breakeven. Currently fuel prices are at lowest level in the world market and still Srilankan is making huge losses. How would they survive when the fuel prices goes up?
    3. Srilankan needs to review their HEAD COUNT cost. There had been huge increase in employees in srilankan during the last 7 years. More than 400 staff per aircraft which is very high as per industry standards.
    4. Review cost of sale and increase productivity of staff. Regret to note commercial department needs a major revamp. New CCO seems to have vast experience.
    5. Need to have some check and balances of the Sri Lankan overseas Managers to ensure they are really selling Srilankan. During my visit to 2 countries in the last 1 month, I casually asked staff where their country manager is. Lady staff said that the country manager come to work only 3 times day since he has small kids at home.
    6. Pls review the cost in Inflight and Service delivery areas. There seem lots of misuse of company properties and wastage.
    7. Based on what I read, Pilots are taking the airlines to the cleaners. You need to let them know they are part of the restructure and they need to fall in line in order make our airline a success.

  • 0

    Bullshit 350 is coming that’s finalized and pilots are getting trained also :)

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