SriLankan Airlines CEO miffed by News 1st report on inflight entertainment act

SriLankan Airlines CEO miffed by News 1st report on inflight entertainment act

Written by Staff Writer

21 Aug, 2019 | 9:38 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Yesterday (August 20), News 1st revealed a certain entertainment activity which took place on board a SriLankan Airlines flight from Hyderabad to Colombo. Today (August 21), in a letter addressed to News 1st, SriLankan Airlines CEO Vipula Gunathilake responded to our report.

We revealed that a group involved in the casino business were on board the flight.

The letter read that SriLankan Airlines had a productive COPE meeting and this news item was aired soon after in an attempt to discredit the airline.

In the letter, SriLankan Airlines CEO said the flight concerned was carrying a special travel group from Hyderabad to Colombo.

It reads “It is a common norm that global airlines provide custom made services for special travel groups based on their individual requirement for a premium fee as in the case of the above group on UL 178.”

The CEO said that SriLankan facilitated in having the organizer’s branding and desired travel experience for this group.

He went on to note that the flight was operated following all standard operating and safety procedures and normal operations were not compromised under any circumstance at any given time during the duration of the flight.

He added that SriLankan Airlines was also not involved in on-board activities.

The CEO concluded saying “Any advertising that was carried out by the organizing party, was published without the knowledge or prior approval from SriLankan Airlines, although the contents of the advertisement appear to have included the brand and brand elements of SriLankan Airlines.”

News 1st also addressed a letter to the CEO of SriLankan Airlines Vipula Gunathilake in response to his clarifications.

Dear Vipula,

We are providing you with the courtesy of airing the letter you have written to us, as you feel it has discredited the airline and also to put across your point of view to our viewers and the public.

You are correct in your assumption that our Group, now 89 years old, has very close links with the airline and has always held in high esteem the national carrier, starting from Air Ceylon days to date.

In your letter itself, you have mentioned that, quote “any advertising that was carried out by the organizing party was published without the knowledge or prior approval from Sri Lankan Airlines, although the contents of the advertisement appear to have included the brand and brand elements of Sri Lankan Airlines”. It is clear that the management, including you, did not have total control of this flight from Hyderabad to Colombo, where even the advertisements that appeared, as well as what was displayed on board was not done in the best interest of the airline or for that matter the country. Lack of knowledge is not an acceptable excuse. It would serve you well to remember that SriLankan Airlines is our national carrier and it carries the name of our Nation.

Again we quote, “ Sri Lankan Airlines had a productive COPE meeting …….”. It is obvious that the discussions at the COPE has been clearly misunderstood by you or misinterpreted to you, as it is our contention that in fact, the opposite is true, with perhaps the exception of your recovery plan which we think is innovative. But on the other hand, the PPP team had surreptitiously planned to sell off a stake in our national carrier with absolutely no financial feasibility study to support it, and the Chairman of the COPE Committee quite rightly expressed his grave concerns and vetoed any such idea.

Are you for even a moment expecting us to accept the fact that whatever the Sri Lankan Airline’s management wishes to do to make money for the airline, should be condoned with, even if it is degrading? The information that we aired came from both passengers and staff because they felt so low and humiliated as was seen by their body language and their demeanour. They were shocked at what was happening. We have more footage of this unfortunate misadventure and more information on those who funded it, which we are holding back purely as a courtesy to a potential Presidential candidate. However, we request that disciplinary action be taken by all those you have copied your mail to as well as the Minister and the Prime Minister.

Vipula, you as CEO should make a clear decision as to whether your priority lies in promoting Sri Lankan Airlines or an independent Casino. Knowing the Prime Minister as we do, he would never have permitted such a tamasha on the national carrier, profit apart.

We stand by our report that the incident that took place was highly inappropriate for a national carrier.


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