Chairman confident of SriLankan Airlines’ route to profitability in 2-3 years

February, 21, 2020

SriLankan Airlines will be transformed into a profitable entity in the future that can contribute to the overall development of the country said the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines Ashok Pathirage.

This was stated at the COPE committee meeting held on Wednesday (19) under the Chairmanship of MP Sunil Handunneththi at the Parliament Complex.

"Our main priority is to see how we can make this Airline profitable. I just want to explain that myself and the entire board are doing an honorary job. We are not taking any cent from SriLankan Airlines. Our job is to make sure that moving forward SriLankan Airlines will be profitable. We want to make sure that we are not depending on any government funding," Pathirage stressed.

Pathirage pointed out that Sri Lankan Airlines' monthly CPC bill is about US$14 million. "But we are only paying US$ 6 million. When I took over two months ago it was US$ 6 million, since then I have requested them (pointing at his board) to pay US$ 8 million because we wanted to make sure we can run this business on our own fund,” he noted.

Meanwhile emphasizing the losses, he noted that the Airline is estimated to lose about US$130 million by March 2020.

“We would have done better but after the April attack, business has gone down and also today we are facing a challenge with Coronavirus and we have cut down our flights to China and that is definitely going to incur some losses for us but we are very confident that if everything goes well, if there are no external issues like; Coronavirus, a war in Middle-East or if oil prices goes up beyond our control we would be able to bring the losses down to about US$30 million next year and if we manage to do that, we will be able to pay CPC and everybody on time,”

“We have also looked at a five-year plan and we see there are about 300 million cash flows outflowing for us and obviously we need to go back to the government, they are the shareholders and we need to see how we can fill this gap. As a board, our primary objective is to give enough money for the management to run this business for at least the next five years rather than depending and going back every time to the government and asking for money. The board has a plan and we are very confident that we will make this Airline profitable soon maybe in another 2-3 years,” he added.

The committee was held with the presence of Minister Susil Premajayantha and MPs Ajith. P Perera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Harsha De Silva, Ashok Abeysinghe.

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