17 January, 2022


SriLankan Airlines Chairman Confirms Detachment Of Airport Ground Handling Operations

In an email sent to all staff last night SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias confirmed that the Ground Handling Operations of the national carrier would be handed over to the Airport & Aviation Services of Sri Lanka Limited.

Chairman Ajit Dias

Chairman Ajit Dias

Elaborating further Chairman Dias stated that a decision had been taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management that SriLankan Airlines Ground Handling Operations at Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake is to be transferred to Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited.

Whilst stating that he was conveying a message on behalf of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, he further mentioned that even the Cargo Operational Staff of the airline working at the Colombo Airport will also be transferred. The letter went on to further state that employees remuneration, privileges, gratuity, other statutory payments and entitlements will be continued to be paid by their new employer.

Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS), the union representing Ground Staff will be picketing in the airline’s premises this morning, seeking to obtain more than 4000 staff signatures. They intend submitting their collective protest to President Maithripala Sirisena.

It is reported that the SLNSS has even called for a press briefing today.

All other unions within the airline will also congregate in support of their ground staff colleagues barring the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka who has opted to keep away.

Meanwhile even the unelected group of Flight Attendant Union (FAU) members headed by Flight Purser Adrian Cramer is expected to extend their support to this cause.

A union member of SLNSS speaking on condition of anonymity as he is barred from speaking to the media said “It is quite sad that our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to make our airline suffer a slow but natural death. This is besides Airport Ground Handling Operations making huge profits despite the airline being mismanaged by those in power. During the tenure of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the airline was handed over to Emirates Airline for a period of ten years between 1998 – 2008. However the airline was never broken up like this.Very soon even the other two profit making departments Engineering and Catering will be also handed over in similar fashion. We are certain that one of the current Director’s has already got his foot into the Catering Department. He will pocket that business for sure. Looks like the writing is now on the wall for all of us and eventually our national carrier will end up been defunct. So this is what yahapalanaya is all about finally and this is sadly the change we all voted for. We were fooled by them then as they wanted our votes and now we are made to feel like real idiots for trusting this bunch of jokers”.

We carry below Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias’ Email to all staff.

From: Chairman
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 7:49 PM
To: all

To: All Members of Staff
There have been recent reports on a decision made by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management whereby, the Ground Handling operations at BIA, Katunayake, handled by SriLankan Airlines is to be transferred to Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited.
I have been informed by the Hon. Prime Minister today, that the modalities of the above should be as follows:
1) A new Company will be incorporated for Ground Handling.
2) All employees of SriLankan Airlines who are involved in ground and cargo handling at BIA, will be transferred to this new Company. Their remuneration, privileges, gratuity, other statutory payments and entitlements will be continued by the new Company.
3) All assets and liabilities (if any), in respect of ground handling, will be transferred to the new Company.
4) It is envisaged that Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited will take up part of the equity in the new Company, which will result in a joint venture between AASL and SriLankan Airlines in ground handling operations in the future.
The Hon. Prime Minister has requested me to circulate this message to all members of staff to allay their fears and uncertainty of their future.
Ajith Dias

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Latest comments

  • 13

    Very goo move by the Prime minister. This monster has caused enough losses for the country. It needs to be taken apart and privatised or shut down. SriLankan Airlines is a disgrace.

    He should split the comapny like this, ground handling catering etc the rest should be shut down or privatised or minimum given to Qatar airlines which has shown interest.

    As the prime minister says previously, Airport business is better than airline business. Shut down mihin, shut down these rajapaksa follies and save the country. Thank you PM

    • 13

      Why they fail to find a partner yet ?

      May be those partners expect more from lankens.

      Or MR regime destroyed the faith made by Emirates with SRILANKEN.

      MR this way has destoyed everything and even today he is on a mode of continuation it.

    • 15

      Why the authorities caused the destruction are not yet punished by FCID or other bodies going through lanken laws ?

  • 10

    “It is quite sad that our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to make our airline suffer a slow but natural death.”

    Yes, it is sad. It should be given a decisive blow once and for all and shut down or privatised totally.

    This blatantly mismanaged airline, politically interfered with, manned by the utterly inept has been picking the pockets of ordinary citizens of Sri Lanka ever since I could remember.

  • 6

    very good. Almost all the swollen headed idiots of Sri Lankan Airlines voted for an empty headed person like RW. Let them suffer now.

  • 10

    This is a good move by the govt. as ground handling and catering uplift
    pay and yield heavy profits.Take Dubai as an example.DNATA and Emirates
    airlines are two different entities and owned by the govt. of Dubai. DNATA does the ground handling of all airlines operating via Dubai, including Emirates airlines. Wonder why the trade union SLNSS is object
    -ing to this sensible move by the govt. after sleeping over it for number of years. They may lose a few perks like less free flight or may
    have to pay 10% service charge for their flights but their job will be secure as aircraft landing at BIA have to be handled and there is good money in it and it is in foreign currency, except in the case of Sri
    Lankan airlines, where handling fees may be paid in local currency.
    There is no chance that such an organization could lose if handling of aircraft is done perfectly with modern equipment and trained staff.

    It is sad that there are no takers yet to restructure Sri Lankan airlines and this is due to shabby treatment meted out to former
    partner, Emirates airlines and sudden termination of contract by the former govt., The other airlines are feeling shy of dealing with Sri
    Lankan airlines, fearing political interference in the admin. of the
    airline but if the President can have one on one, preferably with Emirates owners, The govt. of Dubai, H.E.The Sheik of Dubai may agree
    to forget the past and help the airline to grow if proper apology is

  • 0

    Were n’t the Union involved in the discussions before the business and staff were transferred across to a new business entity? If there was no management of the CHANGE then the authorities are at fault.

    Don’t know when our people ever learn about disciplined and orderly handling of issues. They are so violent, authorities and more often ministers behave like anarchists and violent in dealing with people and sensitive subjects that affect peoples livelihoods. Not acceptable at all!

  • 3

    managing an airline is not rocket science. But if the people at the helm are not aware of how to run a profitable airline, then problems like these arise. True, people who were not suitable at all to run an airline, for that matter to manage even a small business were managing the airline in the past and that resulted in this situation. But then the new lot are no better. There are glaring examples in what is happening today. Business from China is growing judging from the tourist arrivals. But big wigs in the airline say the flights are losing money, how? Is the airline charging right prices from the trade for passengers seats? From what i gathered, even at last moment one can get cheap fares from our national airline while Chinese airlines charge almost double that of our airline. The problem as i see is that the cabinet committee is making decisions based on flawed data. Why is it that is the present scenario when all other airlines are making money, that only our national airline is bleeding? To me the simple reason is that the marketing is not doing things right and when they do not bring the money to the airline you have losses. You need pragmatic visionary people to run airline marketing which other airlines do.

  • 0

    Ground handling is by far one of the most profitable centers along with engineering for UL. This only begs 1 question, is this move a plan to detach all the cost/revenue centers from the present UL setup and then to run the remaining which is the airline to the ground, if so, good move!

    Start all over again without repeating the mistake as in the case of Air Ceylon. New pilots, engineers, passenger handling, etc, on new contract with all remuneration payments only in LKR based on productivity (hours flown) and based on 75% of MPP for all required positions. You fly and you earn, you don’t fly and you don’t earn.

    Each cost/revenue centers can be managed by a standalone company with no affiliation to UL or any future airline just like in other countries.

    • 0

      Well the move to form a different Handling company may definitely be a precursor to winding up the Airline Operation per se.With the removal of one of the profit making units it is very unlikely any prospective Partner could be interested in investing their money on a stand alone Airline operations knowing very well how hard it will be to survive with a limited and restricted network.

      Perhaps with the exception of India there is hardly a void that SriLankan could now venture into and gone are the days where Colombo could be used as a gateway to any significant destination either in India or Far east.Every major city pair in the region is now well served by other carriers on point to point basis.

      If SriLankan is to survive at all ,it very well has to be a mean and lean Airline almost akin to Budget Operations.It certainly can do away with the CEO and other Chief Officers who are being paid in Millions.

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