Written by Staff Writer
09 Jun, 2018 | 1:35 am
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines, Captian Suren Ratwatte, resigned yesterday (June 7). Suren Ratwatte is the brother of Charitha Ratwatte, the senior adviser to the prime minister. However, questions are now being raised on who is responsible for certain issues that arose during his tenure.
According to an internal communication issued by the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines Ranjit Fernando, Suren Ratwatte had agreed to take an early retirement. The document notes there will be a new chief for the commercial division.
However, it must be noted according to the Fiscal Management Report of 2018, published by the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, the losses suffered by SriLankan Airlines increased to Rs. 28.4 billion in the review period of 2017 compared to the loss Rs. of 12.6 billion recorded in the previous year.
The report adds that the airline suffered the impacts of an additional cost of Rs. 14.3 billion incurred on cancellation of three A350-900 aircraft on lease agreement during the review period of 2017 and the closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport for the first three months of 2017.
It is believed that SriLankan Airlines suffered an approximate loss of US$ 40 million during the period when the Bandaranaike International Airport was closed for renovations last year. The national carrier was compelled to cancel 190 flights in January 2017. 205 flights were cancelled in February while, 227 flights were terminated in March. In April around 40 flights were cancelled, making it a total of 662 flights cancelled during the period of the renovations.
As reported by News 1st, on 9th of September 2017, even though the airline was drowning in debt there were four officials in the top management of the airline who continued to enjoy monthly allowances of over Rs. 3 million. Suren Ratwatte, the former CEO of SriLankan Airlines was among the officials who enjoy a monthly remuneration of over Rs. 3 million.
Even though four top officials at the airline enjoyed monthly remuneration packages of over Rs. 3 million each, SriLankan Airlines had to bear an extra cost of nearly US$ 2 million for failing to return an Airbus A320 aircraft leased 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.
In April 2017, a new chairman and board of directors were appointed to SriLankan Airlines after the previous board resigned. The resignation of the board was anticipated soon after President Maithripala Sirisena decided to appoint a five-member presidential commission to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption in the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Ltd. and Mihin Lanka Ltd.
According to investigations carried out by the commission, the national carrier had suffered a loss of approximately Rs. 143 billion from 2006 to 2018 with liabilities of over Rs. 167 billion. The CEO at the centre of controversy had taken an early retirement but, won’t these losses finally have to be borne by the people of this nation?
In addition, is there any assurance to say Suren Ratwatte will not leave the country while these investigations are underway just as fugitive Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran who is hiding in Singapore and is wanted over the Central Bank treasury bond scam?
Chairman of the presidential commission of inquiry, this is over to you.
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