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Bestweb 2018

Four top officials at loss-making SriLankan Airlines enjoy hefty monthly allowances

Four top officials at loss-making SriLankan Airlines enjoy hefty monthly allowances

By Keshala Dias

09 Sep, 2017 | 9:01 pm

The national debt as of September 30, 2016 was Rs. 9,402 billion. While the debt burden of our nation increases on a daily basis, this burden has to be borne by the people of Sri Lanka.

A major contributor to the country’s debt burden is the country’s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, which is inefficiently managed by a few executives who take home very high remuneration packages.

Many staff members of the airline who are dedicated to tirelessly serve the airline and the nation are disappointed with the sorry state of affairs of the company.

According to the financials of SriLankan Airlines, the company recorded a loss of Rs. 28 billion for the 2016/17 financial year.The company covers its current expenses through a Rs. 7.5 billion Over Draft obtained through state banks.

SriLankan Airlines, which is our nation’s global ambassador, has fallen into disrepute, mainly due to mismanagement by officials and irregularities pertaining to the transactions of aircrafts.

Even though the airline is drowning in debt, there are four officials in the top management of the airline, who continue to enjoy monthly allowances of over Rs. 3 million.

The main responsibility of the Chief Commercial Officer of SriLankan Airlines is to increase the commercial viability of the airline and transform it into a profit-making entity.

Following the incumbent government coming into power, Siva Ramachandran, who was residing in the United Kingdom, was brought down to Sri Lanka and appointed as the Chief Commercial Officer of SriLankan Airlines on January 1, 2016.

According to the two year contract, Siva Ramachandran signed with SriLankan Airlines.He is to receive a basic monthly wage of 9,500 Sterling Pounds. According to the current exchange rate, that translates to nearly Rs. 2 million.

In addition to the basic wage paid to Siva Ramachandran, the taxes he owes the government are borne by SriLankan Airlines.The perks afforded to Siva Ramachandran include a company maintained vehicle, fuel for the vehicle, chauffeur, a monthly allowance of Rs. 250,000 for accommodation and free air travel.

For 19 months, i.e. from January 2016 to July 2017, Siva Ramachandran has earned a sum of Rs. 41 million 892 thousand 166 (41,892,166) rupees from SriLankan Airlines.

During this time period, the airline paid over Rs. 6 million as income tax on behalf of Ramachandran.

Suren Ratwatte serves as Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines.

Suren Ratwatte is the brother of Charitha Ratwatte, who is the advisor to the Prime Minister.

While Suren Ratwatte is among the officials who enjoy a monthly remuneration of over Rs. 3 million, SriLankan Airlines failed to respond to legal requests made to provide information on his salary particulars.

Even though four top officials at the airline continue to enjoy monthly remuneration packages of over Rs. 3 million each, SriLankan Airlines had to bear an extra cost of nearly USD 2 million for failing to return an Airbus A320 aircraft rented from
an Indian company, within the stipulated time period.

Recently SriLankan Airlines lost its certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), based on a number of shortcomings.

What is the benefit SriLankan Airlines gained by paying four top officials a monthly remuneration of Rs. 3 million, if the company is suffering staggering loss of Rs. 28 billion?

Won’t this burden too, finally, have to be borne by the people of this nation?

Will this not affect the reputation of our country in the international arena?