New SriLankan Board ready for “challenging” takeoff to viability
2018-Apr-06 | By News Admin

The new Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines yesterday declared that making the national carrier profitable was a “difficult and challenging task but not achievable.”

The national airline is estimated to have suffered a $ 105 million loss (over Rs. 16 billion) in the just-concluded financial year ending 31 March 2018 and is saddled with $ 750 million in liabilities. The forecast loss for FY2019 is around $ 130-$ 160 million. However FY18 loss appears significantly lower compared with near Rs. 30 billion loss in the previous FY17.

Nevertheless managing this double whammy of losses and liabilities is what the new Board is focused on with the help of a restructuring plan submitted with multiple options by aviation specialist firm Nyras of the United Kingdom. 

“Our prime focus is to restructure the national carrier and make it profitable within three years,” SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ranjith Fernando, a veteran ex-banker, along with rest of the Board members told the media yesterday. “This is a big challenge and we are ready for it and will need support from all stakeholders,” he emphasised.

“The airline has tremendous potential. However, days of the Treasury doling out money or handouts and good money going behind bad are over. Making SriLankan Airlines profitable is a difficult task but achievable,” reiterated Director Mano Tittawella, who is also Senior Advisor to the Finance Ministry.

Fernando, Tittawella and other co-directors SusanthaKatugampala, a successful entrepreneur based in Australia, Air Marshal KapilaJayampathi and Central Bank Additional Director Dr. Roshan Perera, akin to walking the talk, have decided not to draw a salary until the airline is made profitable. 

Fernando, whose banking experience was largely with the National Development Bank and was formerly Secretary to Ministry of Industries and more recently Chairman of Urban Development Authority, said the Board was experienced in management and good governance, and would rely on the senior management to run the airline. 

Sources : news24