7 July, 2022


SriLankan Airlines: Need Of The Hour, An Exit Strategy

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

After 37 years of making losses, it is abundantly clear, the state of Sri Lanka does not have the political will or the expertise to do what it takes to manage and operate SriLankan Airlines as a viable commercial enterprise. Profits declared during a few financial years have not been from its core business of transport of Passengers and Cargo but from ancillary operations such as Ground Handling and Engineering in which the carrier has a monopoly and by disposal of assets from time to time.

Meanwhile, some ministers have begun speaking of restructuring the airline by way of infusion of ‘direct foreign capital or through a management agreement with a foreign airline’.

Every government is duty bound to decide and act based on what is best for the country. The national carrier played a pivotal role during the years of the armed conflict. It kept afloat, the hospitality industry, the movement of labour traffic to the Middle East and facilitating Sri Lankan exports even at times when foreign carriers withdrew. Traffic Rights could have been better managed allowing the national carrier a reasonable chance to compete with carriers with modern fleets, equipment and large networks. Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Oman Air, Kuwait Airways and Saudia now operate 84 weekly flights between their home bases in the Middle East and Colombo. It is expected to increase to 98 flights from summer 2016. If a Liberal Aviation Policy or Open Skies is what is best suited for the country in post conflict Sri Lanka, so may it be. However, the national carrier does not have the wherewithal to compete with them. It has been literally overwhelmed, especially in the European markets. This writer discussed this issue at length in an article titled “What ails our National Carrier IV – Question of a National Carrier or a Liberal Aviation Policy” published in the Sunday Island edition of 19 July 2015.

The most important and fundamental issue that need be addressed is ‘does Sri Lanka need an airline’. It need be a hard business decision thought out rationally and not emotionally in the context of archaic concepts such as ‘national carrier’, ‘flag carrier’ etc. nor in the context of the welfare of its 7,000+ employees. More important is that every citizen has to bear a debt of LKR 6,000 on behalf of the national carrier and it is still increasing. The only justification for an airline would be if it contributes to the growth of the country’s economy without being a burden to the Treasury.

A management agreement with a foreign carrier without equity participation is not an option. The state would still be required to provide funds for operating the airline. In case of losses, the management company may at most, forego their management fees. However, no management company will agree to underwrite losses as experienced with Oberoi and Inter-Continental hotel chains etc. Should losses continue, the owners have the option of terminating the management company. That would not be a solution.

Should the state decide to wind up the national carrier, focus will have to be on how best to achieve that objective within a given time period. Key among issues to be addressed will be alternate arrangements for passengers ticketed beyond closure date, a reasonable compensation plan to staff and negotiate best possible terms for the aircraft already in operation and due for delivery commencing September.

However, should it be state’s contention the nation does need an airline, the two options available would be;

1) Go through a process of restructuring the airline and seek one or more foreign investors who will assume the role of major shareholder and take over management of the company

2) Wind up SriLankan Airlines as was the case with Air Ceylon in 1978 and invite local and foreign investors to set up a new airline with the state as a minority shareholder.

The better of the two options would be Option B for a gamut of reasons.

A proper restructuring of an airline for the entry of private investors is an onerous and time consuming task. British Airways (BA) commenced preparations in 1981 and was finally privatized in 1987. Based on its interim ‘survival plan’, number of staff was reduced from 58,515 to 40,440 during this period. The method used to privatize British Airways, was through a “fixed-price offer”. There was no “Golden Share” for the state in the privatized BA. (Privatization of British Airways, Onu Başer – 1999). In 1987, all aircraft (mostly ancient other than the Concords) were transferred by the British government to the new British Airways Plc at a book value of GBP one per aircraft.

Lessons could be learnt from airlines which faced similar situations not so long ago. Sabena Belgian Airlines (subsidiary of Swiss Air) declared bankruptcy and wound up operations never to fly again. All its several thousand employees were laid off. Swissair (SR) grounded its fleet on 01 October 2001 in the aftermath of 11/9. It could not pay its fuel bills in cash as demanded by suppliers. One of its subsidiaries Crossair, thanks to a takeover by UBS and Credit Suisse and a Swiss Federal Government loan, took over SR’s operations until Swiss International Airlines was founded on 01 April 2002. 9,000 SR staff lost their jobs. Around half of them were reemployed by the new Swiss International Airlines strictly on a ‘need’ basis on totally different employment contracts. Privileges secured by different SR employee’s Unions were gone for ever. Swiss International today is a part of the Lufthansa Group. The Swiss government is not a stake holder.

In the case of Option 1, no investor will invest even a penny in SriLankan Airlines in its current state. The airline will need to prepare a ‘survival plan’ on an urgent basis to see itself through till the exercise of privatization is completed and a new management appointed. The ‘survival plan’ will need to address on an urgent basis, the issue of discontinuing unprofitable routes, especially European routes. The Travel Trade is opposed to withdrawal of flights from Europe. They together with their foreign principles may be called upon to guarantee at least 50% of their customers to Sri Lanka to SriLankan Airlines. Some fear, the Middle Eastern carriers would form a cartel and make Sri Lanka an expensive destination. A quick review of their air fares from Europe to the Maldives would suffice to dispel such notions. They will compete amongst themselves. Quality of their products differs. Pricing is invariably used as a tool to increase market share. Meanwhile, the state will obviously have to restructure the company. It would need to write off the carrier’s carried forward debt. It will also need to address the issue of 7,000+ employees. No investor or management company would wish to face the unenviable task of shedding excess staff, early in their operations thus earning their wrath. There is no other way out. SriLankan Airline’s employee to aircraft ratio with 21 aircraft is one of the highest in the world with around 340 employees per aircraft. Even the highly unionized Air France with 235 aircraft has a ratio of 295 employees per aircraft. Swiss International with 83 aircraft has a ratio of 97 staff per aircraft. They learnt their lesson from their 2002 bankruptcy. At SriLankan Airlines, several poorly negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements are in place, agreed to by previous managements. For example, Technical and Cabin crew are provided transport to and from their homes even as far as Gampaha, Panadura etc. This practice, at times requires more than one vehicle to be deployed to pick up and drop crew for one flight. No other airline is known to provide such a facility. Until the early 2000s, all crew were picked up and dropped off from/to a location in Colombo, usually a 5 star hotel. The annual cost of crew transport exceeds LKR 300 mil. There are many such anomalies. Such agreements will not be acceptable to foreign investors and will have no place in a privatized airline.

Back in 1993, BA acquired a 25% stake in Qantas (Australian national carrier) for AUD 665 mil. and two positions in the Qantas BoD. By the time British Airways sold their shares in 2004 for AUD 1.1bil., their stake had dropped to 18.25% due to Qantas having raised fresh capital. Meanwhile, BA had also earned AUD 600 mil by way of dividends during the 11 year period. The two carriers introduced an interchangeable coupon system very similar to the scheme introduced by Emirates with SriLankan Airlines for the seamless marketing of each other’s carriers. Even though BA had no management contract, their expertise was made available to Qantas on request. A hallmark of the agreement was the withdrawal of all BA flights to Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide and reduction of flights to Sydney to a daily flight. It was a time when all flights between London and Australia touched down in Singapore, Bangkok, KL or Hong Kong. Qantas began feeding into all BA flights from the four Far Eastern airports besides operating their own flights to London. It was a win win situation for both carriers. BA made an overall profit of AUD 1.7 bil over 11 years from their investment. Qantas, on the verge of bankruptcy received a desperately needed capital infusion. The two negotiating teams had two representatives each from British Airways and Qantas as observers.

The negotiating team from Sri Lanka during negotiations with Emirates in 1997/8 did not have a single observer from Air Lanka. An arrangement similar to BA / Qantas, for Emirates to withdraw from Colombo and feed into SriLankan Airlines from Dubai would have been hugely beneficial to Air Lanka/SriLankan Airlines. All Emirates passengers in any case have to disembark in Dubai. Such input could have been provided by observers from the airline to our negotiators. It is hoped, such an arrangement would at least be in the agenda for discussion, should there be a next time.

In the case of Option 2, the biggest advantage would be the opportunity for the new company to start with a clean slate. The state would play the role of a minor shareholder with no involvement in management and will not be called upon to make good any losses. Ideally, the state should not have more than two positions in the BoD to represent its interests and to assist in ironing out issues arising for the new carrier with different arms in the state sector. The state’s equity contribution could be by way of transfer of all land, plant and equipment, after proper valuation, to the new company with the proviso the new company take over the current lease agreements for all aircraft in the current fleet as well as the four new A350-900 aircraft due for delivery commencing September. Large carriers such as Emirates, Qatar Airways etc. have enormous leverage with Airbus and would be in a better position to find solutions for the unwanted aircraft. In return, the state would have to make concessions, a small price to pay in comparison to the lease charges to be paid for the four Airbus 350 aircraft over a dozen years. It would leave the state with the key issues of writing off carried forward losses and compensation for 7,000+ employees. Some of the laid off staff are bound to be recruited by the start-up airline albeit with revised and more realistic employment terms. The light at the end of the tunnel in such a scenario is, once the state has wound up SriLankan Airlines and settled all outstanding issues, it would be free from providing financial assistance to an ailing enterprise.

It would be beneficial for any Middle Eastern carrier to gain access into the national carrier’s inventory to India. They have run into a stone wall with the Indians on traffic rights under the Modi government who have decided to protect Air India and Indian Airlines. Sri Lanka’s traffic rights and access into India due to an open skies agreement between the two countries (barring a few Indian airports) is the single most important strategic tool in the possession of its negotiating team. It need be utilized in a manner to obtain maximum benefit to the country and the national carrier, may it be with Emirates, Qatar Airways or any other.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake is on record stating the Treasury will support the airline for the next six months only. In case Minister Karunanayke does not make good his threat, the carrier will continue to be a burden to the Treasury. However, if he does make good his threat, what would be the way forward for the national carrier? What would be Plan B in case an investor is not found within six months? The airline’s situation can only further deteriorate with the arrival of the first of four Airbus 350 aircraft in September.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for SriLankan Airlines and time is running out.

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Latest comments

  • 15

    CEO Suren Ratwatte is rumored to be throwing in the towel and resigning soon. His confirmation in the job after six months has been extended. Sincerely hope he returns over Rs 4 million x 6 months when he goes. He did absolutely bugger all since joining in October 2015. He was never a horse for the course. Next the Board of Directors should also be put on a boat and dropped off in the middle of the ocean without a compass…and oh the Chairman Ajit Dias…well he has been a disaster himself. Heard he went to Gloucester last Saturday for a Royal College old boys function when the one of the aircraft was smoking in the cabin and had to return to Bangkok.

    • 0

      The present Board composed of MS-RW Government appointees – well there is one who claims to be an aviation expert all because he is or was a member of the EU facilitating himself with free travel to Colombo every time he wakes up on that side of the bed which gives him the urge to visit his lads in Colombo from his base in London. – Then there is another who thinks he is a successful lawyer all because his then Hong Kong based lawyer friend has managed to set up what is known to be a law firm of international repute by Sri Lanka standards. This bloke probably has no clue what an airline is all about other than being focused on pandering to his always gay boss. It is rather sad that all the briefless attorney’s in SL think they are experts at politics and business – no wonder SL is where it is!

    • 0

      The present Board composed of MS-RW Government appointees – well there is one who claims to be an aviation expert all because he is or was a member of the EU facilitating himself with free travel to Colombo every time he wakes up on that side of the bed which gives him the urge to visit his lads in Colombo from his base in London. – Then there is another who thinks he is a successful lawyer all because his then Hong Kong based lawyer friend has managed to set up what is known to be a law firm of international repute by Sri Lanka standards. This bloke probably has no clue what an airline is all about other than being focused on pandering to his always gay boss. Further more this guy with a name ending similar to the guy we Sri Lankans voted out in January sought a Director post so that he could make trips to New Zealand as frequent as any citizen would for his call of nature taking advantage of perks offered in the industry to industry affiliates. Do be reminded he uses UL free on as a non paying PAX to his connecting points like Singapore, Hong Kong etc It is rather sad that all the briefless attorney’s in SL think they are experts at politics and business – no wonder SL is where it is!

  • 0

    “Sri Lanka’s traffic rights and access into India due to an open skies agreement between the two countries (barring a few Indian airports) is the single most important strategic tool in the possession of its negotiating team.”

    The long term assessment of this benefit is not sure. I hear, because of the Colombo Port has been managed by Chinese management and Indian ports are restricted to others, Colombo being used by others to access India and the profit is going to China. Noticing this, Modi’s administration wants to open the Indian ports to direct access for other sea liners, with some limitations. If the more efficient Middle East Airlines monopolize the Indian airways through Colombo, in future, India will try to curb it too. I am not sure if that can be negotiated further through ETCA, but the truth is India is suspicious of Lankawe’s deals.

    Lankawe nationalized the British Tea companies and made people to stand for bread queue in the 1970s start. There is no way that can be stopped in the future, or preventing the communists like SLFP, LSSP, JVP, UPFA coalition coming to power. Anybody, other than the computer hackers, putting money in Lankawe will think twice. Lankawe refused to pay the Oil hedging agreements fee too. It is so unreliable for international commercial agreements. They may have to ask to write a contract for non-reversible constitutions likes Tamils are asking for. That is not a practice in the commercial world. So the solution is a 99 years deal with Katunayake. Unless the offering Airline knows how to computer hacking, even that would not materialize.

    Selling contracts for the management is the only way possible. Emirates may not willing to come back to manage. Profit motive is gas drive the private sector. Financial Instruments investors may look for short term investments too. But the Service and industrial investors will look for middle and long term profits. Then other Middle East Airlines may not prefer too, taking Emirates lessons into considerations. Middle East, which is sitting between Europe and Lankawe, has an advantage on managing this mess. The situation is really difficult. Again the way out is looking like selling it with Katunayake.

    China is managing the Colombo port. Why not the Airline? I do not know if the Airline can be added advantageously to the String of Perl. If not China would not be interested. It is said Hambantota has Chinese arms bunkers with the name of merchandise for export. The same way it is Colombo port warehouses have Chinese electronic arms. Katunayake was preferred by Pakistan to use in Bangladesh war. Certainly it too has some Air Centric advantages for a war. So China can take over the Sri Lankan Air Lines and run it. But, again, only if Ranil wants to offer it with Katunayake. As they have hard currency, they may absorb the loss of 1 billion loss the Airline has, as they way they did the $125 million loss they claimed they incurred in the Port City held back.

  • 7

    Mr. Jayaweera: Thank you. This is what I asked from you in my comment on your last letter. You have argued your case well; but the question you asked: “Do we need a National Airline”? YES. Just because our National Airline had been “Mismanaged” and made a “Playing Field” for the Elite does not in any way, discount the NEED to have a airline of our own. We have been subjected to “exploitation” in many ways in this airline industry even by the so called airline partners who were supposed to have shown profits. That is a separate matter to be discussed.

    I say YES to a National Carrier, because: (1) Sri Lanka is not an “isolated” country or a nation any more and it has its place in the world. This will serve the purpose of saying to the world, “here we are” with our “Taste of Paradise” (2) In the emerging economy based on Tourism and opening of our outflow of products to the world, a carrier of our own will play a vital role. (3) we have a wealth of and potential human resource capital outlay to be deployed in this service and industry that can be very profitably be deployed to add value to our asset worth. (4) It can also be valued as a “Security Asset” to the country considering our strategic positioning in the Asian region. These are among many more that could be adduced in favour of a National Carrier.

    What we do need is a “Well Managed”; “Correctly Sized”: ” Employee Participant” entity that can shoulder the industry needs with goals set to make profits or at least not a BURDEN on the country. Already I have heard that the employees are in ONE VOICE say: “We need this Airline”. That must be made a “SPRING BOARD” and an “OPPORTUNITY” to a NEW BEGINNING.

    • 8

      We can appreciate the view of the employees where they feel they need the Airline.But what is more important is what the main stakeholders(tax payers) want of the Airline.They certainly don’t want an Airline that keeps of bleeding year after year.As long as the Government is going to keep control the situation will never improve

      However unpleasant it may be,there is no other option than Plan B.Privatize the Airline

  • 4

    Excellent write up as usual. Hope it will be done atleast every fortnight.

    Sri Lankan has no other choice but to enter into a JV with a middle eastern carrier or start a fresh.

    Govt or the board of directors have no clue as to what should be done. If you cannot make money when oil is at USD 40 and below then there is no hope.

    Unfortunately all govts have run it for their personal use and for the friends and cronies. It is no different now.

    Imagine when questioned at COPE last month about the recruitment of a a head of marketing at an exorbitant salary, the board members acknowledged that it was done from top when majority were against the recruitment!!! The board members if they have any self respect should have resigned then and there. But unfortunately people of that caliber are never appointed.

    Breaking up ground handling and cargo similar to catering is critical going forward. At present passenger losses are hidden and we have never made any profits on passengers for years now.

    We need an airline to ensure price affordability but not at any cost.

  • 6

    Good Article and makes lot of sense.But will it be lost on the powers that have the final say.That is the worry.If they can decide to increase VAT and put additional burden on the average citizen equally they could decide to ease the pain on the tax payer of having to carry the burden of a White Elephant.There is no room for being sentimental

  • 4

    Excellent article. We need to take a decision based on commercial sense, and not emotions…

  • 4

    This was another major folly by a moron President MR who thought he knew everything about management. He screwed -it up in style with his BIL Nishantha and his son Namal did the finishing touches. Sajin also had a big hand in firing Peter HIll a very good aviation professional. He also launched Mihin air a confused airline -not sure if it is budget airline or a regular airline. This enterprise has been a severe drain on the treasury which could have channeled much needed funds for developing other enterprises.

  • 3

    “say YES to a National Carrier, because: (1) Sri Lanka is not an “isolated” country or a nation any more and it has its place in the world. ” Quote Douglas.

    I disagree totally with Douglas.
    Reason .. Srilankan will continue to run at massive losses. Rupee losses as well as huge foreign exchange losses. It is and will be a complete drain on the Treasury. The poor people of Sri Lanka will eventually have to bear the burden and pay for these losses, via increases in VAT, price of bread and other essentials, as is happening now. In the past, the poor people of SL have subsidized the high flying sri lankans and foreigners who are the only people who have got a ‘taste of paradise’ !!

  • 1

    Personally, I think as a nation we have a “Sucker Genome” Coded into us. First we sold ourselves to Emirates, who happily took our routes when establishing themselves as a premier airline in the industry and then Dropped us like a hot brick on a whimsical excuse of MR and his clan of thugs sacking Peter Hill.

    MR appointed a Womaniser and good for nothing Wickramsinghe as its chairman, who only wanted his plane to fly and find airports between the sheets with mistresses and whores.

    Compared to many airlines, we still are a million times better in terms of service, yet can’t seem go black in terms of numbers, thanks to the wrong people being appointed to do the job.

    Need of the hour, is when we need industry experts to be hired to bring this airline back from the dying.

    Mr. Dias, may be a great businessman but he aint an airline person. We need people who can make sound judgement without interferences and make the call to cull people who don’t have the skills to make it happen. This includes, our own finance minister.

  • 0

    Beggars can’t be choosers. The primary focus should be to unload this liability to any interested party with a World Bank MIGA guarantee to prevent it being acquired by any future government. It will go a long way to bring the budget deficit under control. The employee liabilities should be also handed over to the investor.

  • 2

    ex UL staff: you are very correct. What if the “Powers Be” do not get the message. That was well proved in appointing the Board of Directors and some of the Top Job fillings. It is for this reason that, there is a move to get a “FORENSIC AUDIT” done. If that is done all those responsible and accountable for the financial collapse of the airline can be brought to book. With such an audit report, that which is admissible as authentic evidence in a court of law, no one can escape that easily. Hopefully the COPE will move in the matter soon.

    Coco: I understand your frustrations and disagreeing with me on that reason I gave for a National Carrier. Yet, don’t you think, we have to do some thing to turn around the situation and regain what we have lost. We are now getting opened to the world i.e from Japan, China, South Korea, to the South East Asia; then India, Pakistan,Singapore, Malaysia and from there to Europe through EU. Perhaps one day to Americas. Our Tourist Industry is getting bigger and bigger and exports too will grow. Of course, I understand there is a “Hick Up”. It will get solved. Why not be patient and PLAN for the future by being OPTIMISTIC.

  • 2

    Suren R is from yesterday, we need a guy for tomorrow! ………. he want to cut losses but want to take in more people. The last government got Hambantota clans in, this government is planing to recruit rugby players!

    First question to Suren R, WHY is Sajins brother still enjoying his CEO salary? Either Suren R is a pimp or this government is!

    Suren R doesn’t know his foot from his ass. Why don’t this govern do all of us a favour and shut it down and send them all home. Cool off and the start fresh.

    This will stop the greedy flight crews doing their alcohol and cigarette biz for sure!

  • 6

    Rajeev, first you wanted to re-structure the airline, a week later you talk of an exit plan. Why are we pussy footing as a nation, when a year old Govt. had enough time to come up with some quick fixes? People voted in for a change, not to keep criticizing the former Govt. and bad management of yesteryears. Basically as citizens we have failed, all of you have failed us.
    The new Chairman and the board should have looked at some lower fruits without looking at 2018/9. The whole country is paying a price for the delay in doing, all what the Govt. is doing is “talks about talks.” President gives out speeches like an essay writer and the PM is talking about mega polis in 2035.
    If the present regime is to stay in power they must act fast and do some quick tinkering, in all areas. In Sri Lankan airlines the Govt. appointed board other than for fame and prestige (Now you have neither) should have looked at many areas just doing and undoing things to win the staff confidence, and to negate adverse media barrage. As an experienced ex-airline, worker in many areas in many countries, here is what I would have looked at a year ago.
    1. Complete revamp of Country managers, appointed by former election campaigner of Sajin Vass, mainly looking after his chosen clan. You do not need a G11 manager to run a US. 12m per year revenue earning station with 19 flights a week. Look at proven, result oriented, high caliber Managers, to be deployed in key markets,
    2. Bring back director in UK and appoint him as a Head of non- commercial division, at local package. Immediate termination if refused accepting, or request to pay back part of the earnings as per Weliamuna report.
    3. Re-audit the one world alliance and see where the revenue drain and opportunities are.
    4. Campaign to motivate and re-kindle the mind set of all work force. Assurance from the Minister and the Govt. Create strong teams, to do this you must identify strong knowledgeable, experienced leaders with-in.
    5. Insist on UL branding on all transport vehicles hired, out sourced, vans, buses with Sri Lankan Logo and products. Has to be all Air-conditioned buses. These contracts are worth Rs.300million per annum. (If disagreed discontinue contracts and re tender). Imagine more than 200 vehicles running all over the city? That’s much needed branding for free.
    6. Stop Govt. official, law makers’ criticizing the company and neutralize the media of adverse publicity, by company senior official explaining to masses, with real issues and wrong processes. Flight returning to base is not hot news, it happens all the time with many airlines.
    7. Stop recruiting other than critical requests. (Casual/contract only) NO promotions and confirmations above Grade 9. NO extensions on contracts & retirements. Be seen as a non-biased but a strictly managing on commercials. Appoint suitable experienced people with clear KRAs, and support them to deliver. No re-recruiting of retired staff to support unsuitable appointments.
    8. Consensus of the board members is a must to be seen as one voice. If not immediate removal. Have a non-political, non-classmate, person as the Chairman to take non-biased commercial decision virtuously towards profitability.
    9. Complete re-structure of the Revenue management/capacity control division, Set up teams with field /market experience in regional clusters, to take faster decisions in a flexible manner that is proactive and not reactive.
    10. A strong internet business unit with high caliber web designing and change teams, to be innovative for rapid launching of promos in need in a short time. Thus working towards overall 25% of revenue target.
    11. Suspend all named accused in Weliamuna report and set up/outsource a strong legal wing to handle such areas.
    12. Have one on one‘s with all G10 and above, by an external consultancy company to identify the high caliber managers or to weed out unwanted traditional time wasters, enabling the company to move towards profitability, or to a level that is ready to be privatized at a better preference (All this while they were forced to act on political and on a corrupt manner for third party needs).
    13. Give back the lost honor and dignity to all staff. The loyalty and the dedication that these workers can move mountains for you. Why they didn’t all this while? Because they knew the top management and BOD had other selfish, political motives and they knew the company would end up in this manner.
    14. Finally when the Govt. decides to sell Sri Lankan to another airline/group they will do all what is listed above and more. Sadly no person had the audacity and the backbone to do these with politicians, friends and the usual elite taking top jobs to make a picnic on poor tax payers account.

  • 2

    This unrelenting campaign by a few ex employees, to keep UL in front of the news and attract all sorts of comments from genius’s who think they know all the answers is simply an exercise to massage those ex employees egos.

    You guys were kicked out because you couldn’t do the job. Now your mission seems to be to stop anyone else from even trying.

    Do you think anyone even reads this, let alone will take any action ?

    Dream on you morons and get your selves a life !

  • 2

    I wish you were the CEO of Sri Lankan Airlines.

    Well, you are not, are you? You need good connections to the political big wigs for to get that job.

    On the other hand if you have good connections you will not be the type to do a good job, isn’t it.

    Can’t win either way.

  • 1

    Dear Rajeewa
    You left Sri Lankan due to some injustice done to you. However while you are a knowledgable man you mislead the public by your writing.
    There were times you were volunteering to help restructure this airline now you are recommending closure. My question is if they offered you the oppertunity when you were wanting to re enter at a higher level would you have closed it down.
    We all know if the Political hand that holds Sri Lankan is taken away it can be a profitable venture.
    Apart from the staff at Sri Lankan there is a whole bunch of direct and indirect beneficiaries who gain from the tourist who enter and pass through our country.
    I agree that if The government is not serious in running all SOEs as profitable business we should shut them all down not just Sri Lankan. The rule should apply to all not just the one that refuses you a job.
    Just like all other SEOs.
    Then we can all live in Sri Lanka without electricity, Fuel, and all other services that SEOs provide.
    So don’t keep blaming the staff and criticising the crew let’s demand good governance and transparency which are the urgent needs of the country.
    Not personal agenda.

  • 0


    My piece is based on the primary issue if Sri Lanka needs an airline or not, to be decided by GoSL. In case no airline is required, matter ends there. In case of the latter, my piece covers two available options.

    It is public knowledge that I applied for post of CEO in May 2015. I did so as I, along with may other millions in this country, after 08 January 2015 had faith in the rainbow revolution. I, along with many others believed Sri Lanka was finally done with bad governance, nepotism and scores of other negative factors which prevailed in the country. I applied as I believed the Prime Minister’s promise SriLankan Airlines would be managed in the same lines as SIA and Tamasek in Singapore. If that had been the case, the airline had a chance to recover.

    15 months on, we are acutely aware nothing has changed or will change. Speaking of the airline, mismanagement is no better or worse than under previous government and board.

    I am also acutely aware, considering the government’s Modus operandi, I would have been dismissed quite some while ago, had my application been successful.

    I hope to have sufficiently clarified to your misconceptions of my motives.

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