Has not received Govt financing since March 2021
Most national carriers subsidised by their Governments
Most of the national carriers in the world are subsidised by their Governments due to the huge economic contribution they offer towards the nation’s prosperity.
The classic example is Dubai which grew on the back of Emirates Airline where its operations contributed 38% to the country’s economy, said CEO, SriLankan Airlines, Richard Nuttall at a workshop in Katunayake.
Even major airlines such as British Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Lufthansa have been supported by Governments by way of interest free loans and other means. “Strong economies need strong national carriers.”
“Hence, critics must understand that SriLankan is not the only airline in the world that has been supported by the Government.”
He, however, said that since March 2021 where the Government provided USD 240 million to the airline they have not received any financial injections from the Government. “So it’s not right for some to say that we are being regularly financed by the Government.”
He said due to the Covid-19 pandemic many airlines were financially bleeding but they are now turning around. “We too are now on a path of recovery and will post profits at the end of the financial year.”
He said that critics and people must understand that aviation and power generation and similar industries make huge investments but profit making is slow. “The power sector needs to invest around USD 300 million to build a power plant and in the aviation sector too it is the same as a new aircraft costs around USD 150 million. But one must look at the benefits that a national carrier and a power plan bring to the country.”
He also recalled that the airline carries around five million people per year including tourists who contribute millions of US dollars to the country’s economy.
The CEO said that to overcome the pilot shortage they have obtained approval to recruit around 30 foreign pilots this year and 50 next year under the same financial package offered to local pilots (excluding accommodation).”
SriLankan plans to launch domestic flights
By Shirajiv Sirimane
For the first time in the aviation history of Srilankan Airlines, the carrier is planning to introduce scheduled domestic flights to Jaffna, SriLankan CEO Richard Nuttall said.
He said that the Colombo-Jaffna route looks a very profitable route as many people including Diaspora and tourists wish to visit Jaffna and air link is the quickest way to link the two cities. “There may also be connections to India and to Sri Lankan routes from the Indian market. We are awaiting clearance from the Palaly airport and are looking to lease an A319 aircraft which is small in size and can land at the Jaffna airport.”
(The A319 carries 124 to 156 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,700 nmi (6,900 km; 4,300 mi).
He said that he was surprised to note that there were ‘serious talks’ to permit an Indian carrier to fly to Jaffna also to operate flights to Ratmalana. “Such permission to operate to domestic destinations is never given anywhere in the world.”
SriLankan does not have permission to have an additional stop over destination when flying to Indian destinations. “Hence, how can the vice versa work out?”