Though SriLankan Airlines management had attempted to ‘buy time’ on an RTI application filed by the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka under Sri Lanka’s RTI Act, saying that it will be requesting for advice from the RTI Commission, the Commission has responded informing the Information Officer at SriLankan Airlines that the Commission will be ‘unable’ to advise as requested.
A source from the Guild told Colombo Telegraph that the Guild has been informed that the RTI Commission has pointed out to the SriLankan Airlines that if the Commission elects to ‘advise Information Officers on matters of this nature, it will result in the Commission having to refrain from hearing the appeal as it had already advised or expressed an opinion on the matter.’
‘This is the correct approach to take’ the source stated. ‘Why should SriLankan management ask for advice? It must either give or refuse the information. Then we can go on appeal.’ he said.
He confirmed that according to his knowledge, the Commission had formally informed Sri Lankan Airlines that under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, No. 12 of 2016, the Information Officer, Designated Officer and the appeal authorities have to independently and separately exercise their decision making powers.
The objective of the RTI Act is such in that it confers absolute independence free from any interference proceeding from any authority having even appellate powers such as the Commission, on the Information Officer and Designated Officer who initially exercise original powers.
The RTI request of the Pilots Guild to SriLankan Airlines Limited related to the following;
1. Salaries and other allowances and/or benefits of:
(a) The Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines Limited
(b) Head of Human Resources of SriLankan Airlines Limited
(c) chief commercial officer of SriLankan Airlines Limited
2. All information related and/or connected to Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) correspondence with SriLankan Airlines Limited.
3. All information related and/or connected to Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) initial entry into an Agreement with SriLankan Airlines all information relating to the Agreement with SriLankan Airlines Limited including the said Agreement.
4. All financial information (including but not limited to profits and/or losses and/or damages) connected to the Agreement and/or arrangement between Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) and SriLankan Airlines Limited.
5. All information related to and/or connected to the termination of the Agreement and/or arrangement between Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) and SriLankan Airlines Limited.
6. All information related to and/or connected to the cancellation of the order of Airbus A350 Aircraft (including but not limited to all Agreements and/or correspondence related to ordering of Airbus A350 Aircraft and the cancellation thereof).
7 . All information related to and/or connected to the cost of personal flying training for the A320 jet conversion borne by SriLankan Airlines and/or any party for the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Suren Ratwatte
The Management response: