23 October, 2020

Blog

Will SriLankan Airlines As A Smaller Carrier Retain A Sustainable Competitive Advantage Post Covid?

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

This presentation is a response to the above question raised by a recognized academic deeply committed to the socio-economic wellbeing of the nation and its people. This Op-ed is also an opportunity to recognize and pay a tribute to a civil society activist, late Rajeewa Jayaweera, an expert on airline industry issues, who was a person with whom the writer debated many issues connected to SriLankan Airlines.

In answering the question it is an important priority, to review the current external environment and also asses the current state of affairs of the airline industry globally and locally.

Industry Issues Post Covid

By the end of May, most world airlines will be bankrupt states a posting in CAPA, the Centre for Aviation. Coordinated government and industry action is needed – now – if catastrophe is to be avoided. As the impact of the coronavirus and multiple government travel reactions sweep through our world, many airlines have probably already been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants. Cash reserves are running down quickly as fleets are grounded and what flights there are operate much less than half full. Forward bookings are far outweighed by cancellations and each time there is a new government recommendation it is to discourage flying. Demand is drying up in ways that are completely unprecedented. Normality is not yet on the horizon”. 

A large number of global airlines have begun restructuring, with significant layoffs based job cuts. Virgin Australia has filed for Bankruptcy, several others have gone in to administration, airline leasing companies are in severe stress with several plane returns, and business models with  long haul activity is being examined under microscopes. A significant number of aircrafts on order have been cancelled. Some of the more profitable state assisted airlines, especially of Middle Eastern origin, are investing heavily to meet the new normal health and safety requirements. They stand ready to commit to both capital expenditure and added costs under the ‘new normal’, despite having to fill the planes with passengers of lesser capacity than before. The aircraft bone yard in the Mojave Desert is filling up and new additions to this yard include the British Airways, the world’s largest operator of Boeing 747, with it’s entire jumbo jet fleet retired due to the downturn in travel industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Annex 1 makes reference to airlines devastated by Covid. It is a sad case study of the severe challenges facing a high profile global industry. It signals a ‘Red Light’ warning and all stakeholders of the industry need to worry about the future and take strategic and courageous decisions before it is too late.

Airline Casualties due to Coronavirus includes Chile’s LATAM, the second-largest carrier in South America- Avianca, the British regional airline Flybe, Miami Air International, Alaska’s largest regional air carrier RavnAir, St. Louis-based Trans States Airlines, Regional carrier Compass Airlines, Air Deccan—a regional airline that used to be India’s largest low-cost carrier, Swedish airline BRA, Air Mauritius and SunExpress Deutschland: A Turkish airline jointly owned by Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, whilst South African Airways was  shut down by the government. Some of these airlines have been shut down, whilst some have filed for bankruptcy, and others have applied for administration or chapter 11 restructure, at times yet whilst flying. The United States’ five largest airlines Delta, American Airlines, United, Southwest and Alaska – are now pushing for a $50bn-plus bailout to help them survive the Covid-19 crisis. It is believed that these five giants of the industry had previously handed out more than $45bn to shareholders and executives over the last five years. There has even been talk of ‘American Airlines’ demise[1]. 

An article titled ‘An early assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on air transport: Just another crisis or the end of aviation as we know it?’ quotes “Along with other sectors of the economy, air traffic is vulnerable to external factors, such as oil crises, natural disasters, armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, economic recessions and disease outbreaks. These outside influences seem to have a more severe and more rapid impact on air traffic numbers as sudden increases in flight cancellations, aircraft groundings, travel bans and border closures which are quickly felt in lower load factors and yields for airlines, while airports lose non- aeronautical revenues. 

Before Covid-19, the most important disease outbreak in terms of impact on air traffic was SARS in 2003. According to IATA (IATA, 2020a), in May 2003, at the height of the SARS outbreak, monthly revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) of Asia-Pacific airlines were 35% lower than their pre-crisis levels. Covid-19 has gone well beyond these levels and is currently taking the aviation industry into uncharted territory. As of 24 March 2020, 98% of global passenger revenues were accounted for by air transport markets with severe restrictions (i.e., quarantine for arriving passengers, partial travel bans, and border closures), many airlines have been brought to a complete stop and, to make matters worse, the provisionally-observed recovery pattern for Covid-19 is turning out to be slower than the short-sharp V-shaped pattern observed in 2003. The significance of air cargo has been vindicated by the Covid-19 crisis. Shipments of food and medical supplies have been protected by governments to ensure the supply of basic necessities. Thus, even though air freight tons quickly dropped in Asia Pacific in late January, a partial V-shaped recovery pattern was observed soon after. Later, freight tonnage progressively decreased from the beginning of March in Europe, North America and the Middle East”.

“Sustaining the low-cost model, however, will likely be a big challenge. The model is built on optimizing and maximizing aircraft utilization: Keep the seats filled and the planes in the air. But in the recovery phase, a certain number of jetliners will remain grounded, and cabin cleaning procedures will keep the airplanes that are flying on the tarmac longer. The International Air Travel Association last month projected that global demand for air travel would regain its 2019 level only by 2024, slower than the previous projection of 2023. This year’s global passenger numbers are expected to decline 55% compared to 2019, it said”.

Will the external environment spelt above resonate as a fundamental core medium term background realism of the airline industry in the minds of the key political leadership of the day in Sri Lanka?

SriLankan Airlines Post Covid

It was heartening to read the recent press coverage, where SriLankan Airlines Chairman, in an interview with Bloomberg Markets Asia, discussed how the national carrier was coping up with the impact of the COVID pandemic and highlighted the following key points:

* 75% drop in turnover compared to 2019 due to COVID

* Negotiating with lessors in reducing costs

* Saves $100 m per annum by reducing lease costs

* Slashes staff from 7,000 to 5,000, VRS in the offing for further reductions

* Pandemic was a blessing in disguise to restructure organization

* Hopeful of profit-making or at least break-even level post-COVID

* Dealing with $1 billion of debt, owed to State banks and on International Bonds

* Negotiating with Govt. to convert debt into equity to reduce costs

* Explores travel bubbles with UK, Singapore and China

* In today’s context, don’t need 30% of the fleet and negotiating with Airbus for best options

* Optimism that the organization will be in better shape post-COVID, as compared to most of the larger airline companies

* The Government’s vision is not to sell the company

* In a much better position to turn into profitability – not immediately, but in two-years

Can SriLankan Realize its Dream?

The SriLankan Airlines is currently managed post Covid, under the directions of a professional board of directors. Despite the collective capabilities of the new board, in reality will they be empowered to make courageous and meaningful turnaround decisions in the best long term interests of the airline and the nation by those with power and purse strings? Will they also be able to convince the political leadership to recognize the medium term realism of the airline industry? With ‘Coordinated government and industry action is needed – now – if catastrophe is to be avoided’ being a pre-requisite as noted earlier, can we expect such an environment with SriLankan Airlines?

Those in political and executive authority and those representing the key shareholders of SriLankan Airlines in the past gave unacceptable and ego driven directives to the then board; and set objectives impossible to achieve, especially without required capital infusions. They yet remain in such positions and the top management team too possibly yet comprises of persons who misdirected, misrepresented and supported blindly corporate decisions and aided and abated committing the costly mistakes, gross violations and avoidance of best practice standards in the past. It is hard to imagine that strategic change management leadership actions will emerge in the short to medium term from the capable new board of directors who will remain arm twisted; and thus restricted in making courageous change management decisions.

With the present fleet not being fit to leverage and focus on expanding significantly cargo handling and the inability to accommodate present costs and overhead structures in exploiting  short haul regional flight options, important turnaround opportunities are not open for implementation. SriLankan Airline’s human resource management policies and practices do not encourage a work ethic matching its regional competitors. Its overhead structure, long haul routes and sales and administration structures are challenges in converting to a low cost carrier with competitive advantage.  

It is most unlikely that the key shareholder of SriLankan Airlines will have deep pockets matching the Middle Eastern airline shareholders. With a looming debt crisis, both at a national and airline level, with the airline’s ‘going concern’[2] status challenges alongside the national exchequer most likely in a negative ‘fiscal gap’[3] status and unable meet its future debt obligations, a deep pocket lifeline to the airline in the longer term is very doubtful.

It is therefore very unlikely that a turnaround promise built on SriLankan Airlines achieving at least a break-even level post-COVID and thereafter turning into profitability in two-years will be deliverable. 

Strategic Million Dollar Question and Lessons from History

In order to critique the question “Will SriLankan Airlines as a Smaller Carrier Retain Post Covid a Sustainable Competitive Advantage”, it is essential to look back and learn from missed opportunities and unprofessional management case study of the Airline in the past. 

The professional board of directors now in charge of the destiny of SriLankan Airlines must remember and even frame at the entrance door of the Board Room the quote attributed to both writer and philosopher George Santayana and Winston Churchill “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. 

Unless the future of SriLankan Airlines is based on professional management, with directors, officers and auditors, exercising transparent good governance and adopting global best practices, with integrity, in good faith and solely in the interests of the airline; and they are ring fenced from political and executive interference, pressure and unprofessional direction by those representing the key shareholders, there will be no future for SriLankan Airlines, either under the present business model or any other business model specifically designed to meet the ‘New Normal’. 

In addition the Government must be committed to and be able to provide continuous funding of liquidity shortfalls expected in the longer term. This commitment can be supported only if the state itself has deep pockets and its own solvency and fiscal gap red light signals are under stringent control and its future net cash flows can meet its present and future debt obligations.

Strategic Next Steps for the Attention of the Leadership Team

Looking back at the history of the more recent past, the missed opportunities of SriLankan Airlines are many;  its present dire financial state is regrettably due to unprofessional and non-transparent management and corrupt practices condoned by the board, aggravated by unacceptable State directed policy prescriptions and significant failures in the exercise of effective boardroom governance, including failures in oversight by directors. From these instances there are many generic lessons to be learnt and specific action steps to be pursued by the present board and these include the following:

Core Commitments for Improved Board Room Governance

* The core principles of Good Corporate Governance must be practiced by the Board at all times  

a) Boards of directors are responsible for the governance of their companies. 

b) The shareholders’ role in governance is limited to the appointment of the directors and the auditors and to satisfy themselves that an appropriate governance structure is in place. 

c) The responsibilities of the board include setting the company’s strategic aims (including strategic and operational planning and deployment of capital and assets and assumption of liabilities), providing the leadership to put them into effect, supervising the management of the business (including cash flow/funds flow management assuring solvency and going concern status) and reporting with transparency and accuracy to shareholders on their stewardship. 

d) The board’s actions are subject to laws, regulations and the shareholders in general meeting. 

* Directors must at all times act in good faith and solely in the interests of the Company,  avoiding situations of violation of laws and regulations as well as being in situations of conflicts of interest;

* The Board must neither accept nor implement unprofessional and unjustified directions of political and executive authorities nor allow these external forces  to interfere in management decision making 

* Directors must exercise due diligence, skill and care reasonably expected of them and provide necessary oversight and management control; they must avoid reckless actions, grossly negligent actions, oppression and mismanagement and misrepresentation of facts.

* Tightly administered systems, procedures, internal control and risk management must be in place: In addition an extra caution must be exercised in the avoidance of conflicts of interests, bribery, corruption, waste as well as noncompliance with laws and regulations; 

* International best practices and appropriate technology must be deployed in management; with capable and committed professional managers and advisors of integrity and proven track records being selected to assist the Board.

* Directors must abide by and strictly enforce effectively procurement guidelines, limits of authority and must enable processes of oversight reviews by the Ministry and the Cabinet where appropriate; The Directors must further strictly comply with financial regulations and corporate governance codes issued by the Ministry of Finance; 

* The  Directors must  exercise due diligent oversight over high value procurements and long dated contractual commitments, ensuring that corruption and waste are eliminated and internal control / risk management processes are effectively in place 

* Directors and top team must refrain from in-fighting  with divided loyalties to different camps and thereby disloyal to the core  interests of the airline

* The auditors must be regularly rotated and must be encouraged to act with independence and apply best standards and practices of the profession. The directors must create space for auditors to express independent opinions. The auditors must preserve their professional independence at any cost; and they must never facilitate nor allow directors to present financial statements with misrepresentations nor be pressured by Audit Committee Chairmen to vary professional qualifications, highlights and reporting framework of audit reports

Operational / Financial Management and Compliance Commitments of the Board

* Airline must not be operated heavily under-capitalized and must never be allowed to operate and even expand, diversify and re-fleet whilst in a technically insolvent stat, withholding such information

* Airline must not incur expenses nor commit to long term contracts nor create new liabilities nor resort to temporary borrowings, prior to receiving supportive capital infusions   

* Annual Report executive reporting content  as well as all other  published information and communications must strictly be in alignment with the associated financial statements prepared adopting consistent accounting policies and in line with accounting standards; Directors must avoid the publication of any statements which are false in any material particular nor use changes in accounting policy to distort true and fair reporting of financial results

* The provisions of the Companies Act and Articles of Association must be strictly complied with, paying special reference to approval of major transactions, borrowing powers, serious loss of capital and going concern and solvency status assessments, true and fair assessment of the state of financial affairs, and in the publication of prospectuses and other reports

* Financial forecasts, feasibility assessments, budget estimates and cash flow/funds flow projections must be accurately and transparently computed, maintaining professional integrity, using reliable and deliverable assumptions, all of which must be benchmarked to similar businesses in the industry; Directors must never accept hockey stick forecasts ( ie. where the pattern begins with two years of reducing losses with the break even after two years and returns sharply rising in years 4 and 5)

* All high value capital commitments ( eg. Wide body Re-fleeting), diversifications (eg. establishing a Maintenance-Repair-Overhaul (MRO) facility consisting of a purpose-built four-bay hangar at Mattala), vertical and horizontal expansions (eg. SriLankan Aviation College, Acquiring Simulators and secondary hub at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Hambantota and Improvements at Katunayake Airport), establishing new routes (eg. Russia/Ukraine, Australia) and overseas offices and assumption of long term liability commitments ( eg. Sale and Leaseback contracts and Issue of international bonds )must be preceded by board oversight led professionally and diligently developed  feasibility reports, free cash flow projections, internal rates of return computations and risk assessments, with all decisions being made based on risks weighted free cash flow positive reliable outcomes being assured

* Avoid unprofessional decision making and approving unaffordable business diversification, route expansion and capital expenditure and ensure all decisions are made optimizing free cash flow returns

* The Board should avoid accepting assumptions and financial forecasts without adequate due diligence and professionalism, especially when assumptions which do not bear any relevance to comparison with international benchmarks and the past achievements of the airline, recognizing that budgets and timelines to profitability and key drivers of profitability have never been realized in the recent past ( eg. failing to meet revenue targets, optimize passenger /cargo revenues, achieving year on year growth in load factors and yield, etc)

* The Board should be conscious to assure that accounting policies and notes to accounts are not misstated (eg. going concern status) and must avoid the possibility of trading in a state of technical insolvency. 

* The Board must be committed to avoid the serious management lapses of the past where decisions were made in bad faith (eg. committing to re-fleeting contracts, whilst the airline being in a state of serious loss of capital and with route profitability estimates based on totally misleading fundamentals: and further transgressing the important provisions relating to  major transactions requiring formal shareholder approval

Action Steps in Recovery and Resolution Planning 

* Taking timely action to investigate and seek civil compensation from all those perceived  or evidenced to have been associated with  conspiracy, bribery, corruption, breach of trust, gross violation of Company Law and Articles of Association, in connection with  re-fleeting of  aircrafts and other major contracts/commitments; and aggressively pursue to recover any proceeds of crime associated with the re-fleeting and other investigated acts of criminal nature, pro-actively seeking assistance of the law enforcement agencies, external agencies and assisting parties offering mutual legal assistance and best advice.

* Post Covid pandemic seek options for timely action to re-negotiate all active aircraft leases and take optimum steps to return leased aircraft, even using force majeure clauses and other contractual cancellation options

* Pursue civil recovery compensation options arising from the acceptance of lower gross weight A 330-300 aircraft not meeting with fit for purpose specifications in RFP found unable to carry optimum number of passengers and cargo throughout the year, direct on Colombo-London-Colombo route.

* Exercise caution to avoid future situations, where whilst  being aware that the most fit for purpose aircraft for the airline re-fleeting in the wide body class was A 330-neo, proceeding to acquire other aircraft for the fleet; not having opted for interim lease of aircraft till order fulfillment with best fit aircraft available; and thus causing extensive losses on both subsequent cancellations as well as by continuous use of such aircraft

* Pursuing options to renegotiate lease rentals of aircrafts acquired and now believed to be out of line with competitive market rates at acquisition and also where route profitability at variable cost level are negative, (including those aircrafts subject to buy- sell and lease back without continuing to operate them on routes where the route profitability is known to be negative).

Non Compliance with Rule of Law, Regulatory and Good Governance Commitments

* Any members of the senior management team who are perceived to have been persons accountable for past management failures to exercise due care, skill, and adopt best practices based professional management in good faith safeguarding the interests of the airline and further failing to avoid transactions with third party interests, must be weaned out

* Evaluate action options where noncompliance with rule of law, regulatory and internal governance procedures are evident : 

a) being grossly negligent and in bad faith not taking any steps consequent to discovery within 6 months of re-fleeting contracting that the feasibility report computations and route profitability data forecasts relied upon by the Board had serious errors which significantly impacted on the viability of the re-fleeting and resulted in over 90% of the route profitability to be negative

b) wilful disclosures tainted by misstatements and those which are false in material particular, in Annual Reports, a published prospectus, in balance sheets and accounts and other public disclosure reports, 

c) contravention of applicable company law and accounting standards; and thus making false and nonfactual representations of the financial position and going concern status of the airline, as well as the true nature of and restrictions placed on Treasury Bonds issued by the State in satisfaction of consideration due for issues of shares

d) significant long term liability creating contractual commitments (eg. Total care agreements, Reconfiguration) and memorandum of understanding being executed without formal board  concurrence, misusing powers of attorney and other delegations of authority

e) ordering special conversion kits to be fitted for VIP travel, using valuable memorandum credits available on aircraft acquisition; and later upon cancellation of contract failing to recover the net credit available on resale of the kits

f) manipulation and misstatement of accounts in the extension of leases / restructure of leases including using sale and lease back lease rental changes, to facilitate the airline getting cash contributions to meet funds flow deficits

g) failing to exercise due care and skills in effective cost and waste control, capex management, advertising and promotions costs, cash-flow management, risk management and payroll management resulting from unjustified recruitments and extending unwarranted benefits to some categories of staff.


[1] Guardian Research

[2] Financially stable enough to meet its obligations and continue its business for the foreseeable future

[3] as the difference between the present value of all of government’s projected financial obligations, including future expenditures, including servicing outstanding official federal debt, and the present value of all projected future tax and other receipts, including income accruing from the government’s current ownership of financial assets.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    5

    unrelated news item

    —————–
    twitter On 13th October, Chargé d’affaires Hu Wei congratulated Yoshitha Rajapaksa @YoshithaR for assuming office as new Chief of Staff to Hon. Prime Minister @PresRajapaksa .

    Bilateral friendship and follow-ups of recent high-level visit were discussed.
    ——————

    no announcement to Sri Lanka local media or to the Sri Lankans

    CT – can you please investigate

    • 4
      0

      This s not an article but a news paper. Writer should learn to see it right it first. Thinking is a hard work ????????????????

    • 2
      0

      R
      Should we not let gossip that belongs to Twitter to be within Twitter’s purview?
      What more can CT do that you cannot do?

    • 1
      5

      Mr. Rajash…….
      .
      What to investigate?
      .
      Do you want MR to check with CT or get permission from you idiots before appointing his Chief Of Staff..?
      .
      Get lost mate………….

      • 2
        1

        All Government decisions are now first ratified by China before announcing to the Sri Lankan citizens.

  • 14
    2

    Never so long Rajaakshes rule the nation.

    By 2015, sources proved the losses were few hundreds in billions.

    Only CBK govt brought profits in billions, having merged it with Emirates. But PEOPLE welcome crimnal politicians no matter even if their lovely ones would have been raped. Good riddance !

  • 16
    3

    Sri Lankan Airline will not be competitive or profitable for the following reasons:

    Corrupt governments as in the past will interfere in its profitable business,
    There are no competent person in Sri Lanka who can handle a highly competitive business like this.
    Big shots will influence the Airline to do “hanky panky” actions.
    Once I was traveling from Singapore to London on a Sri Lankan airline that stopped in Katunayake and the ground manager came up and said I have to give up my seat for a Sinhalese family from Colombo. That is not how you run a business!
    Remember Sri Lankan failed in its collaboration with Singapore Airline and with Emirates airline.
    If Sri Lankan leaders, especially the Sinhalese leaders are capable of running businesses successfully they would not have driven out more than a million Tamils who are productive and thriving in Western countries.
    Now with the most racist government in history in power worse things can happen.

    International begging is the profitable business for Sri Lanka!

    • 5
      6

      Thiru,
      It was your Sun God megalomaniac Prabhakaran who drove out more than a million Demalu so that Tamil Diaspora can extort their meagre savings by working as toy let cleaners to buy arms and ammunition to kill Sinhalayo. At the end all the money they gave ended up in Nandikadal. With the money left unspent, Tamil Diaspora Vellala bosses are having a good time.
      Western countries encouraged asylum seekers because they wanted people to do menial jobs that white guys do not want to do.

      “If Sri Lankan leaders, especially the Sinhalese leaders are capable of running businesses successfully they would not have driven out more than a million Tamils who are productive and thriving in Western countries.”

    • 5
      0

      Thiru: “Once I was traveling from Singapore to London……. in Katunayaka the ground manager came up and said I have to give my seat for Sinhalese family from Colomb”. Very hard to believe your story. When you board in Singapore, did you get one boarding pass or two (one to Singapore/ Colombo and the other from Colombo / London)? If you were transitting in Colombo you would not have been given the same seat to London that you traveled from Singapore. Very probably you would have been sitting in the wrong seat. Did he say “…Sinhalese family”? I don’t think that would be the truth. The weight of an “opinion” or a “comment” gets very much lost when these types of “racial” facts are higlighted.

  • 14
    3

    The history shows that Sri Lanka cannot run an airline profitably. Why waste taxpayers’ money for the jolly rides of corrupt Government officials and influential people.

    Does the present government have the expertise, dedication or honesty to realize that any revamped Sri Lankan will also lose money?

    • 3
      5

      Thiru,
      “The history shows that Sri Lanka cannot run an airline profitably.”

      The profitability of a national carrier is not determined only on the income and expenditure in the books. There are various other benefits the country gain by operating a national carrier.

      Before 2015 election the economic maestro of UNP, Dr. Harsha de Silva told they know how to make loss making Government business enterprises profitable but during ‘Jadapalana’ Government situation got worse because corruption was rampant.

  • 7
    1

    Shutting down SriLankan will cause a lot of heartburn among its employees. But the hard fact is that many of these are lavishly paid from the pockets of less fortunate citizens. 180 billion Rupees in debt is no joke.
    SriLankan could go back to being a regional airline as in the past. It could ferry passengers on small turbo-props to regional hubs. If other airlines find it profitable to fly here, they certainly will. Pilot salaries would be much lower. We don’t need to cut off our noses for the sake of national prestige. There are bigger and richer countries without national airlines.
    In my opinion, it is better to lose money on efficient trains and buses ( which everyone can use) rather than Airbuses used by a few.

    • 4
      2

      old codger

      I am sorry are you suggesting that those politicians, their families, their b***s carriers, their mistresses, their brothers, functionaries, ….. should not fly comfortably and in style?

      You are being maverick and cruel.

      How do you suggest Gota should bring his pet dog from abroad?

      • 3
        0

        Native,
        Is that your picture in the gravatar?

        • 2
          1

          Native,
          “How do you suggest Gota should bring his pet dog from abroad?”
          Even if the state provided free tickets to everybody (and his dog) who wants to fly, I believe it will cost less than SriLankan.

        • 3
          0

          Native,
          How come you look so much like Pol Pot?

          • 2
            1

            old codger

            “How come you look so much like Pol Pot?”

            I was told SJ has/had lot of respect for Pol Pot’s ideology. I thought I better honour SJ with Pol Pot’s portrait. Did you know Pol Pot did have many admirer among Tamils and Sinhalese? They tried to explain to me about Pol Pot’s idea of Year Zero, unfortunately I was not clever enough to grasp the idea.

    • 2
      4

      old codger,
      If the Sinhala tax payers pay compensation to the families of LTTE Tamil terrorists who massacred Sinhalayo for three decades what is wrong in subsidizing the national carrier?
      If the Sinhala tax payers are paying for a luxury house in Colombo seven to the racist separatist FAKE Leader of the Opposition, what is wrong in subsidizing the national carrier?
      If the Sinhala tax payers paid billions of Rupees to draft a new Constitution that breaks country into pieces to please Malabar Vellala Tamil politicians, what is wrong in subsidizing the national carrier?

      • 2
        2

        Don’t write fairy tales Eagle. Never a penny was paid to Tamils from 1948 when they disenfranchised Estate Workers while working. Leave alone the annual celebrations of Pogroms. You went to UNHRC and said you are getting out of the promise of repatriation under Resolution 30/1. You let the Rapist Army to survive in the North with house brakes in and Thalikodies. Then Tamils’ pawned Jewels in People Bank was never returned to Tamils. Colombo Media wrote Old Royals sold 2000 tons of gold to Japan. Even Peacock Palace swimming Pool was filled with sand was used to hide the stolen Thalikodies. All world swimming pools are either guarded with compound wall or fence. Who else filled a swimming pool with sand other than Old Royal Thieves?

      • 2
        0

        Eagle,
        You are comparing apples with oranges. SriLankan has been in the red all along, except for a few years when it was run by Para non-Sinhalayo. So it is quite clear where the problem lies.
        As to compensation, has any government paid 180 billion Rupees to Tamil civilians?

  • 6
    0

    Rajash, you are right,. Yoshitha is appointed as chief of staff to PM. When the nation is reeling the whole Rajapaksa family is officially on pay roll.Trump wanted to give appointments to his sons, daughter or Son in law but could not succeed due to push back. (they were all advisors not on payroll). Where as Rajapaksas are on government payroll , when Lanka itself is in massive debts. Soon friends , family, close /distant relatives and others will join the party. Welcome to splendor and virtuous nation.

    • 3
      0

      under the cover of darkness all kinds of illegal activities take place. Robbery, drugs pedalling etc

      under the cover of Covid – Rajapaksa family id tightening their grip over the people of Sri Lanka

  • 4
    8

    Sri Lanka has been named the best country in the world to visit this year, after Italy by readers of Conde Nast Traveller, a US based travel publication. Sri Lanka scored 93.96 points, slightly behind Italy with a score of 94.05. Sri Lanka beat Portugal, Japan and Greece which made it to the top 05.
    —-
    SriLankan Airlines has been recognized as one of the world’s leading airlines in the recent Conde Nast Traveller ‘Readers’ Travel awards’. The airline has been awarded the sixth place in the survey among Best International Airlines with readers commending the airline’s comfy business class seats, attentive cabin crew and flavorful in-flight meals.

    • 5
      3

      Eagle,
      Is Conde Nast a subsidiary of your Jaffna history. com?

  • 5
    0

    The “History” of the aviation industry in Sri Lanka beginning from Air Ceylon to this day of Sri Lankan has been plagued with corruption, mismanagement, and waste. This industry is a multi-billion business plus another lucrative business of “Travel Industry” connected with tourism, transportation of people and goods, and a multitude of other affiliated business of “Travel/Tour Agencies”, all providing employment to millions of men and women. So, it all depends on the policies and action plans instituted to run an “Efficient” airline. In the case of Sri Lanka, “FAILURE” has been the “NORM” excepting for a short period during “Emirates” management. That “TREND” of profitability was “DERAILED” because of “ONE MAN’S” egocentric foolishness decision to change the course of the industry. Since then the nation has been committed to bear the losses incurred as a result of “Day Light Robberies”, “Corruption”, “Mismanagement” and “Waste”. That “CURSE” made to fall on the entire Airline Industry” by “ONE” single, egocentric man is “Unpardonable”, but the “People” continue to slavishly tolerate and support that class of “ELITE” rogues. In such an environment, I do not understand why and how a “Minority” could make proposals to make that “Industry” (assigned to the ruling class) it “Viable” and “Profitable: It is a waste of time and energy. I will continue later.

  • 7
    1

    Sri Lankan is too corrupt, top heavy, and overstaffed to ever make a profit. Make it a regional airline, with flights to profitable Indian connections, one to the Middle East (Dubai?) and another to Bangkok. Make Katunayake open skies, and collect landing fees.

  • 1
    6

    Thiru,
    It was your Sun God megalomaniac Prabhakaran who drove out more than a million Demalu so that Tamil Diaspora can extort their meagre savings by working as toy let cleaners to buy arms and ammunition to kill Sinhalayo. At the end all the money they gave ended up in Nandikadal. With the money left unspent, Tamil Diaspora Vellala bosses are having a good time.
    Western countries encouraged asylum seekers because they wanted people to do menial jobs that white guys do not want to do.

    “If Sri Lankan leaders, especially the Sinhalese leaders are capable of running businesses successfully they would not have driven out more than a million Tamils who are productive and thriving in Western countries.”

    Moderator,
    Please make sure that this comment is visible to readers who are not ‘Logged in’.

    • 4
      2

      Eagle,
      Are there any of your relatives flourishing in Western countries? Even running fake websites or finance companies?

    • 2
      0


      The last line of EE’s comment:
      .
      In that line alone there is something that I can agree with. Those who submit comments now know that a comment has indeed got to the website, and can immediately check whether what they have written is accurate.
      .
      However, even after many hours, there are only two ways that they can know if it has actually been approved.
      .
      1. Has it attracted at least one thumbs down “dislike” response from some other reader?
      .
      2. The commenter can “log off” CT to see if it is now visible.
      .
      I usually give that initial response – as I said a “Like” or a “Dislike” to help the system.
      .
      Why is this system necessary? Because without it there will be so much “cheating”.
      .
      Thanks CT for continuing to operate. And thanks Chandra Jayaratne for the detailed article, which tells us more than just about the “Sri Lankan” Airline.
      .
      I’m sure that others, too, would have noticed how few are commenting – at certain personal risks.

  • 2
    5

    Sri Lanka has been named the best country in the world to visit this year, after Italy by readers of Conde Nast Traveller, a US based travel publication. Sri Lanka scored 93.96 points, slightly behind Italy with a score of 94.05. Sri Lanka beat Portugal, Japan and Greece which made it to the top 05.
    —-
    SriLankan Airlines has been recognized as one of the world’s leading airlines in the recent Conde Nast Traveller ‘Readers’ Travel awards’. The airline has been awarded the sixth place in the survey among Best International Airlines with readers commending the airline’s comfy business class seats, attentive cabin crew and flavorful in-flight meals.

    Moderator,
    Please make sure that this comment is visible to readers who are not ‘Locked in’.

    • 1
      1

      Sorry for the typo. It should read ‘Logged in’.

      • 6
        1

        Eagle,
        The purpose of an airline is to make profits while moving people, not to create fake votes to get itself into “sixth place”. Why not use this great airline to move the migrant workers back from ME? Are they Dalits?

    • 7
      2

      What a fairy tale. How can tourists visit when there are no flights? ??

    • 2
      0

      Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

      “Please make sure that this comment is visible to readers who are not ‘Locked in’.”
      -.
      Whom are you trying to impress, your wife, partner, mistress, Madam at Havelock road junction, or the Chinese lady who sells Dorian, …. ?

  • 3
    2

    The airline should be renamed right away as the
    Kota UDa airways.
    A proud member of the beggar colony.

  • 5
    0

    Thanks, Mr Chandra Jayaratne for a responsible and carefully written article. You will always maintain the high standards that you have set yourself.
    .
    What else can an individual do when people voted as they did, and we have a dictatorship in place.
    .
    Many of us warned, but the majority refused to think. Now people like us can do little to challenge the system. I hope that “the government” (or should I say “the junta”) realises that if we are silenced, violent protests will take our place.
    .
    I, too, have a right to life – until Nature silences me. Meanwhile, I will not be an anonymous dissenter.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka Sinhala_Man

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