By Saman Indrajith
There were 190 officers at SriLankan Airlines, each drawing a monthly salary of over one million rupees, and they were one of the reasons why the airline suffered a 40,000 mn-rupee loss during the last nine months, parliament was informed yesterday.
Chairman of the parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, presenting the first report of the Committee on Public Enterprises for the period from July 7, 2017 to Sept 9, 2017 to Parliament said that SriLankan Airlines had recorded a loss of Rs. 40,000 million for the last nine months.
“The committee expressed its dissatisfaction at the fact that despite a directive by the committee to furnish information about their educational qualifications, age, and tasks assigned to them, a report had not been submitted yet.”
According to the COPE Chairman, in 2014 Sri Lankan Airlines recorded a loss of Rs. 32, 357 million, in 2015 a loss of Rs 16,000 million, and in 2016 a loss of Rs. 12,000 million.
“The national carrier has suffered a loss of Rs. 40,000 mn during the last nine months. The minister, the President and other responsible officials need to take decisions on this matter,” he said.
The report says that the national carrier paid s. 16,924.36 million as compensation for cancelling the financial lease agreements of four of the eight A-350 aircrafts without a proper Cabinet approval procedure.
“When the committee inquired whether Cabinet approval had been granted for that the SLA Chairman stated that the Cabinet had approved that through the Cabinet Paper, dated 15 August 2018. However, it has been disclosed that the Cabinet Paper was submitted after the said payment had been made.
That payment was not directly approved through that Cabinet Paper. Only the observations of then Minister of Finance was given in it. Thus, the Cabinet Paper was not signed.”