Cancelling A350-900 order was a mistake

Cancelling A350-900 order was a mistake

Written by Nathasha De Alwis

19 Jan, 2019 | 8:30 pm

Colombo (News1st): A report submitted to the Board of Directors of Sri Lankan Airlines reveals that the national carrier will have to pay an extra sum of $3mn on a monthly basis for 4 A33 airplanes currently in the possession of Sri Lankan airlines.

News1st recently revealed the manner in which one such aircraft, which was never used for any purpose, was parked idle at the BIA while Sri Lankan Airlines haemorrhages our $585,000 each month. This is in a backdrop where the standard market rate for such an aircraft is between $350,000 and $450,000 a month.

The report states that although SriLankan Airlines had the opportunity to lease the aircraft for around USD 660,000 to USD 700,000, the company had obtained at a cost of more than 1 million US dollars. It adds that the relevant aircraft were initially leased during the previous government.

The report further states that the aircraft are not a requirement of the company and that it had to bear a cost exceeding 3 million US Dollars. The report which has also been signed by the former CEO of SriLankan Airlines Suren Ratwatte, also claims that there is no necessity for such aircraft.

However, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya of SriLankan Airlines Janaka Wijeyapathirana believes that SriLankan airlines continue to function as a national carrier thanks to 3 A330-300 planes which were brought down by the previous Government. He added that there is no necessity for these aircraft because decisions were taken to cancel flights to tourist-friendly destinations such as Paris, Frankfurt and Rome.

The government was compelled to pay USD 98 million to Aercap company as compensation for the cancellation of an order placed for 4 A350-900 aircraft which were ordered by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration. An email addressed to the chairman by then CEO, Charitha Ratwatte, reveals that the prime minister had recommended cancellation of the transaction. Charitha Ratwatte is the brother of Suren Ratwatte.

Wijeypathirana explained that the current situation came about as a result of an unwise decision to cancel the order for A3560-900 aircraft and because the Government was forced to accept extremely unfavourable conditions during the cancellation of the agreement. He added that the Prime Minister, his Cabinet and Charitha Ratwatte should be held responsible for this travesty.

Who obtained the excess money?

Why isn’t anyone rectifying these errors?

Isn’t the money wasted by this, the money of the people?

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