“SriLankan Airlines has recorded a 50% loss on its total assets and a 45% loss in its financial assets under the Emirates Mangement within the last two years alone,” Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said yesterday.
Addressing the new management and the employees at the ceremony held to signify the change of management from Emirates Airlines to SriLankan Airlines at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday, he said the challenge before the employees and the management was how to make the national carrier a profit making venture.
“You have the backing of the government to meet that goal. What you need is more determination, dedication and self confidence. We can learn lessons from our neighbor India and our friend China to do that. Your priority must be to strengthen the financial capacity and management discipline of the national carrier,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.
Partially privatized in 1998, SriLankan Airlines is once again a fully state-owned carrier since its launch in 1979. SriLankan Airlines now serves 41 destinations in 22 countries in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and the Far East and is the largest foreign carrier operating to India with 100 weekly flights to 11 destinations.
SriLankan Airlines has maintained a dynamic programme to expand its number of destinations and the new frequency of flights to each destination through its own flights and code shares. New destinations in recent years include Amsterdam, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Bradford, Teeside, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Beijing, Jeddah, Goa and Coimbatore.
SriLankan operates a fleet of 14 Airbus built wide bodied A340 and A330 aircraft and mid range A320s. The fleet comprises 5 Airbus A340s, 4 Airbus A330–200s and 5 Airbus A320–200 aircraft.
The Government of Sri Lanka holds 51.05% and Emirates Airline holds 43.63% share of the national carrier while the employees’ share is 5.32%.
On the new board of directors of Srilankan Airlines Dr. P.B. Jayasundara (Chairman) and members Nishantha Wickramasingha, Lalith De Silva, and Sunil Wijesingha represent Sri Lanka while Tim Clerk, Gary Chapman and Nigel Hopkins represent Emirates.