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Sri Lankan Airlines to postpone 21 Aircraft lease

Sri Lankan Airlines has been forced to postpone the procurement of 21 aircraft on lease basis  on a directive issued by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) under the dire economic situation in the country.  

The Chairman of the COPE. (Prof.) Charitha Herath ton Monday (25) directed SriLankan Airlines to postpone the procurement process of leasing 21 aircraft for the period 2022-2025, for three months.

Accordingly, in view of the prevailing economic situation, the entire process should be reviewed and it should be ascertained whether the relevant procurement process is in line with the proper methodology, 

COPE advised the Secretaries to the Ministry of Tourism and the State Ministry of Aviation and Export Zones Development. 

Furthermore, the COPE Chairman also recommended that a procurement guideline be duly prepared and submitted to the Cabinet through the cabinet minister for the relevant procurement as a Cabinet decision.

The Committee acknowledges that the replacement of aircraft at the end of the service period is essential for the continued operation of the airline. However, 

in view of the current economic crisis prevailing in the country, it is important to pay more attention to this and meet the relevant requirements.

SriLankan Airlines was summoned before COPE following a debate in Parliament regarding the recent chartering of aircraft.

Ashok Pathirage, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines and other senior officials Pointed out that several aircrafts out of the 24 existing aircrafts will be reduced in near future and that the process would take some time as the acquisition of aircraft cannot be done immediately.

 Accordingly, considering the relevant market conditions, this process will take between 6-12 months and these activities will be carried out through the Ministry in a more transparent manner, Mr. Pathirage said.

The Chairman of SriLankan Airlines further pointed out that in the face of the current challenging situation, a large number of staff cuts had to be made and the salaries of the employees had to be reduced..

SriLankan Airlines agreed to suspend the entire process of hiring 21 aircraft while admitting that the decision was made without knowing the gravity of the economic crisis in the country, SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said.

Sri Lankan Airlines top officials admitted they did not know Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis was this grave when the decision was made and agreed to suspend the entire process. As a start, all timelines would be extended by three months.

It is inconceivable that SriLankan Airlines Board was that clueless about the SriLanka economy given stature of members and all top professionals.

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