SriLankan nose dived after Emirates left in 2008 - Witness

SriLankan Airlines alone has been incurring continuous losses amounting to billions of rupees since 2008 onwards after its management was taken over by the Government of Sri Lanka from Emirates, it was revealed yesterday.

The Airlines’ Financial Management Head, Yasantha Dissanayake, testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Investigating SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka said it had been earning profits during the Emirates Management, but, turned into a loss making company under the new management.

The company was under the Chairmanship of Nishantha Wickremasinghe until February 2015.

SriLankan had incurred a loss Rs. 9.3 billion from 2008 to 2009, Rs. 2.7 billion from 2009 to 2010, Rs. 381 million from 2010 to 2011, Rs. 19.67 billion from 2011 to 2012, Rs. 26.1 billion from 2012 to 2013, Rs. 32.4 billion from 2013 to 2014, Rs. 16.4 billion from 2014 to 2015, Rs. 12.6 billion from 2015 to 2016, and Rs. 28.9 billion from 2016 to 2017.

The PCoI sources said that the company had incurred a loss of 17.2 billion in 2017-2018 but, it has not been audited so far.

Witness Dissanayake also told the commission that there was a sale back of a leased aircraft in 2010, by which it could reduce the loss of 2010-11 period by Rs. 2.2 billion.

The PCoI also came to know that the business plan of S.A.Chandrasekara, designed for 2010/11 – 2014/15 period had expected profits during that period except for one year from 2011 to 2012.

However, earlier the witness told the commission that half of the total loss incurred during 2016 and 2017 was due to the compensation paid for terminating and cancelling the lease agreement on three aircraft in 2016.

When asked by Additional Solicitor General Neil Unamboowe, PC as to how the company could rectify the incurring of continuous losses, Dissanayake replied that they should have re-looked at the business model of the company.

But, he said there had been no separate document as a business model since 2004.

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