SriLankan Airlines is set to award its CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte, the bother of Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinghe’s senior advisor Charitha Ratwatte, a performance bonus of Rs 10 million despite the airline continuously making losses.
Sources close to the Board of Directors of the national carrier told Colombo Telegraph that they had vehemently opposed the proposal put forward by Chairman Ajith Dias, seeking a Rs 10 million bonus for his CEO, whom he claims achieved an actual operating deficit in comparison to the budgeted operating deficit of the airline.
“This is the first time in the world where an airline despite losing billions of rupees is attempting to reward a CEO for reducing costs, Is this some sort of a joke?” an aviation expert asked.
“We even don’t know his salary and other perk details,” he said.
The Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka despite using the Right to Information Act has been deprived of obtaining the salary and other perk details of CEO Ratwatte from the airline’s management. They have now raised their concerns with the Right to Information Commission.
Writing to Colombo Telegraph, former aviation professional Rajeewa Jayaweera said: In a bizarre development, a proposal has been made to award a performance bonus of LKR 10 Mn to CEO Ratwatte on the basis, he had achieved his target. What is meant by achieving target is Actual Operating Deficit being less than Budgeted Operating Deficit. It is understood his contract letter contains a clause of a performance bonus of LKR 10 Mn in case of achieving his target.”
CEO Ratwatte lately took to the media and on several occasions blamed the government for interfering into the day to day operations of the airline.
In a televised interview he went on to say “We have started our restructuring programme, but we need approvals from the government of Sri Lanka who is the primary share holder before we can engage fully in the process. We also need approvals from our line ministry and the cabinet.”
“If we have to seek higher approvals often it makes it very difficult to run a commercial airline,” Ratwatte said. “The Board of Directors has to make decisions as they occur, the government approval process sometimes takes six months,” CEO Ratwatte went on to say.
Raising four major concerns the CEO Ratwatte stated “the lack of cash infusion forces the airline to seek short term loans on high interest which eats into our revenue, high fuel prices in Colombo forces us to buy fuel externally, unwanted high costs of aircraft lease agreements made by the previous government and excess staff in comparison to the aircraft per employee ratio is what needs to be looked at urgently. (By Manisha Unantenne)