27 November, 2021


RTI Commission Orders SriLankan Airlines To Release Info Relating To Massive Financial Losses

In a twenty page Order handed down under the RTI Act on 12thJune 2018, Sri Lanka’s RTI Commission hasruled that two termination agreements entered into between SriLankan and AerCap which caused great losses to SriLankan Airlines are to be released as they have been completed and concluded.

Even though SriLankan argued otherwise, the Commission has stated that the existence of a confidentiality clause in the said agreements do not, by themselves, establish the applicability of the RTI exemptions as that is a contractual obligation per se.It pointed out that the Public Authority has failed to prove what precise portions of the agreements with AerCap related to information given by a 3rdparty to the Public Authority and ‘treated’ as confidential at the time as required by the RTI Act.

However, purchase agreements of SriLankan with Airbus SAS to buy four A350 aircrafts have not been included within the Order to disclose as negotiations in regard to its cancellation are still ongoing. Three aircrafts were to be delivered in 2020 and one aircraft was to be delivered in 2021. The Commission had commented that this is an ongoing process and that ‘commercially sensitive information’ may be in issue, including inter alia, pricing and price revision mechanisms.

Responding to the appeal filed by the Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka and its President, Captain Ruwan Vithanage, the Commission also directed that Sri Lankan Airlines release details of salaries and other allowances and/or benefits of the CEO of SriLankan Airlines Limited, Head of Human Resources (HHR) of SriLankan Airlines Limited and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of SriLankan Airlines Limited. Also to be disclosed are the information related to and/or connected to the cost of personal flying training for the A320 jet conversion borne by SriLankan Airlines Limited and/or any party for the CEO, Mr. Suren Ratwatte.

In the Order, the Commission has stated that this is information which, by its very definition, ‘directly relates to the financial accountability and transparency of the Public Authority in the expenditure of public funds. This is all the more so by virtue of the pre-eminent position that it holds as the country’s national air carrier and in the context of widespread public concerns in regard to financial management of the Public Authority.’ It has emphasized that ‘where the public purse is concerned, and the alleged financial irregularities of a particular Public Authority are under scrutiny in an Appeal before us, this Commission will be particularly watchful of the public interest.’

In addition, the RTI Commission has directed that the Memorandum of Understanding dated 28th July 2016 with PIA, the Wet lease agreement dated 04th August 2016 with PIA and the Wet lease extension agreement dated 02nd November 2016 with PIA ‘comes within the ambit of information that may properly be released under this Act.’ It has been pointed out that a confidentiality clause cannot prevent information disclosure after the contract/agreement had been awarded, where the accountability of public funds and the transparency of the Public Authority is in issue.

The RTI Commission has further ordered that relevant Board Minutes, Board Papers, reports by aviation consultants are to be released subject to Sri Lankan establishing that relevant portions of those documents need to be severed from the rest to protect commercial confidence harming the competitive position of a third party or confidential information given by a 3rdparty as allowed by the RTI Act. If information is severed, that will be subject to the RTI Commission making sure that it is done in accordance with the RTI Act, it has said.

Earlier, the national airlines argued that it did not come within the RTI Act which argument was not upheld by the Commission. SriLankan did not appeal against that Order at the time. Now that the main appeal has been decided, it has one month to challenge it in the Court of Appeal.

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Latest comments

  • 3

    Sri lankan Air lines was profitable for the govt even only with 40% of the stake given to the foreign company. during the previous govt, They were stealing every way possible. Ranil know all those and he continued to appoint his collegaues and their friends as the management and the Air line is full of UNP card holding members. Rajapakse govt also offered lucrative contracts to the Managers brought from California and their salaries are paid via a third party company in singapore I heard. That is corruption. So, it is not supposed to be profitable, just the way electricity board, PEtroleum corporation and many State Owned Enterprises (SOE) are. State owned enterprices lost Rs 87 billion I read. Ranil is playing like a bull in the China shop because ge is the leader for the Execcutive LAw mAking parliament. Maithripala sirisiena is in the dark, uninfomred, igonorent about the parliament and he is trying to protect every thing by hiding.

  • 9

    Why should anything pertaining to the use of state funds in state enterprises be confidential, unless there are expenses which are illegal/unwarranted/unapproved/exorbitant ?
    Why should emoluments of personnel of such enterprises be kept a secret?
    Would not such restrictions allow room for corruption/waste/illegality?

  • 4

    I thought Dr Ranil’s big ass FDI Team lead by Mallika stitched up a Deal with a US Vulture Fund …
    And the Singaporean Dr Arjun Mahendran was the Chief Economics/ Finance Advisor..
    What happened?….

  • 6

    At the Minuwangoda end of the BIA runway is a very old, and very large log under which all the unpalatable facts relating to SriLankan are stashed away. The stratospheric salaries, the ghost payments to those who comforted the over-worked ‘executives’, the sweeteners to the nameless, the penalties for cock-ups, and more, all lie silently with the slugs and snails and other little vermin that inhabit that warm and dark space.
    Many in high places have taken vows never to let this Pandora’s box be opened. Ever.

    • 4

      That’s very close to the truth!

      You’re forgetting that the Rogues at SriLankan have had plenty of time to delete e-mails and shred incriminating evidence.

      No action taken against anyone named in the Weliamuna Report including the current HHR and former COO – both remain employed with the Airline.

      I doubt that even the most basic investigation has taken place – get copies of the aircraft lease contracts and see who signed them on behalf of the Airline.

      The current investigation has not named anyone so far – I don’t expect very much to come from this. It will all be quietly buried.

      • 4

        Like everything in Sri Lanka in these times, there will be inquiries, investigations and ‘commissions’ started, reports produced, and the end result will be……Nothing. No culprits charged, no one in responsible posts will be identified. Faceless people run government/quasi government organisations all appointed and protected by political godfathers. Buck passing is a national sport now. No wonder foreign investors will not touch Sri Lanka with a barge pole these days.

        • 1

          All very true.

          Good to see someone ‘gets it’.

          Most Sri Lankans are extremely naive and believe everything their corrupt ‘leaders’ say.

          They then keep electing these ‘leaders’.

          A very sad state of affairs.

  • 5

    Everyone involved in this catastrophic disaster should be behind bars by now! What an “effing” disgrace!! I never use dirty language but I am SO, so angry.

  • 11

    please list the benefits each director has received, free travel, what were the destinations? Company business ? family members benefits etc etc. Please expose all these scoundrels- at the same time how much was the airline losing ? tax payer losing ?

    • 1

      Not just each director, what about the political godfather’s? The benefits were freely dispensed with, and not just to employees. Some strutted about as if they owned the airline. Taking a party club-class to see a favourite son graduate was par for the course.

  • 4

    When we will be able to know the true story behind the sudden sacking of foreign CEO of Airlanka when the Airlanka was linked Emirates during MR time?

    • 1

      Did you miss the news flash MR gave at the time? Emirates was so much in debt they were steeling from worlds most profitable airline aka Airlanka to keep down trodden Emirates Air afloat.
      Later as Sri Lankan Airline downward spiral continued and for very short time it scored very big as best K9 aka Poodle carrier for MR’s family member who is known as a very patriotic die hard US citizen.

      By the way in case you missed it Mihin Air took over the mantle of world most favorite air line under MR.

  • 3

    Ex Chief Commercial Officer Mr Siva Ramachandran who left the airline very recently was taking very bold steps to bring the airline back in track and the results of his planning and far thinking measures are now coming to light with record revenue for the last financial year and it goes down the history of the airline as the highest revenue that was ever achieved. Most of actions were curtailed by the CEO Suren Ratwatte for the reasons best known to him .

  • 0

    Wait for it! SriLankan Airlines never kept any financial records and so cannot release any information. Beat this if you will.
    By the way, the Pilots’ Guild will now support this.

    • 0

      And you know this for a fact is it? The pilots guild has and will maintain its integrity as proven by its persistence for over 2 years in getting this information.
      There is a saying that It’s better to keep quiet and let people assume you are an idiot than open it and remove any doubt!!
      EXCO member of the guild.

  • 1


    Best move your money on long term FDs ,to either ,Peoples bank ,BOC ,Commercial or Seylan Other options ,Peoples leasing , or any leasing connected to BOC or Commercial bank
    The Country’s financial market is in a very uncertain situation .

    We may have some meltdown and some private institutions may not be avke to survive .

    • 0

      I agree that a financial crash is coming in Sri Lanka.

      I don’t agree on your survival strategy.

      State Banks are insolvent – do not keep your money there under any circumstances.

      Your money is not safe in any bank.

      The best way to protect yourself against the coming huge devaluation of the Rupee is to buy ‘hard assets’. This would include Gold, Silver and Land. All 3 will hold their value as the Rupee becomes toilet paper.

  • 2

    We are heading for a full financial crash ,

    Could end up in huge riots

    The government is lying to the people and covering up and holding back any inflow of money .

    Even a simple man should feel the impact now ,and We have become champions in ignoring facts ,this started two years before government change hands to My3.
    And the Bond gate backfired .

    Its shocking to see people really believing another government or politician will bring dollars from .mars to save us.

    As it is China in big trouble with Trump slapping them left ,right and centre with trade tariffs
    China is not going to give anymore more ,until they have recovered the earlier in doubles , that should take another 15 years if we survive that long .

    Why can’t Ranil tell the people Thev truth ,so that at least the people will prepare & start living more simple until things get better , stop borrowing print money against zero & manage their lives.

    He is trying to save his crooks and crooks in the opposition too at the cost of the people.
    Otherwise he and the president must step down and handover to able people or call for snap elections ,at least there would be hope ,if actually MR &Family made so much Money ,then no problem , I personally don’t care if he has , as long as he puts it into the treasury and rolls until next election .
    Nothing else we can do ,this government has no liquidity to do that.

    Whatever they got has been nicely wacked and water ever they got also wacked .

  • 2

    Hallow Asela, are you nuts or did you hit your head on a aircraft wheel? CCO Siva Ramachandran did a wonderful job ? My foot! The fellow got really a fully paid holiday for three years paid by the poor homeless people in Jaffna. Paski or Dubai Anoma through CBK. got him this holiday and he did sweet F all.
    The guy has a reputation of slowly fading away when the kitchen gets hot and all closing Airlines after him knew about him.He also had a holiday cum massage in India almost every other week. The Lucky devil went to India on Sri Lankan paid hotels, tickets and allowance on joy trips and the airline should do an Audit to see who the hell signed for all of this funds. No other CEO, CCO,CMO ever travelled the way this guy did. He was like the Regional CMO of India. Yes the airline made the highest revenue and lost US 100 million. Of course with Mihin additional flights and new destinations to India FarEast and Male did give that highest revenue according to the number of seats. At least next time don’t recruite a crown vulture like this to eat up the little this airline process.

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