Auditor Gen calls for ‘national civil aviation policy’ | Daily News


Response to COPE query on SriLankan losses on plane purchases

Auditor Gen calls for ‘national civil aviation policy’

A National Civil Aviation Policy relevant to Sri Lanka should be prepared along with an airline fleet policy that suits the economic and social outlook of the country, the Auditor General (AG) has recommended in the special audit report on SriLankan Airlines re-fleeting of aircraft and termination of agreements to acquire eight A350-900 aircraft. The AG has also recommended applying such formulated policies as benchmarks when determining the necessity of the fleet of aircraft of the National Carrier.

The special audit report was prepared by the AG on the request of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE). The audit report along with COPE’s observations on the above mentioned matter was tabled in Parliament recently by COPE chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti.

The report revealed the adverse impact created on the country’s economy by the need to pay a large sum of USD 115.77 million or Rs. 17,058.1 million as compensation as a result of SriLankan Airline’s decision to terminate the agreements to acquire four A 350-900 aircraft without an adequate cost-benefit analysis.

The AG has also recommended that SriLankan Airlines seek the sponsorship of the Government for the maintenance and repair of aircraft and that it should enter into an agreement with theCeylon Petroleum Corporation to obtain fuel for aircrafts at a minimum price.

The AG, in the special audit report, has made 15 recommendations on the operations, management and strategic planning relating to SriLankan.

The report has recommended establishing a Public-Private partnership to obtain foreign investments of up to 90%, to expand and develop air flight operations, maintenance and repairs of aircraft, food supply and aviation training. The Auditor General has also stressed the importance of obtaining clearance from Attorney General for all important international and local agreements entered into by the SriLanka Airlines. It was recently revealed that the national carrier has not sought the Attorney General’s advice when terminating the agreement to acquire the said aircraft and the termination agreement relating to the inquired matter.

Meanwhile, COPE Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti in the COPE report on SriLankan Airlines has observed that the total loss incurred by the national carrier for the period 2009-2019 is Rs. 240 million.

“The total operational loss reported so far is Rs. 116 billion which is equivalent to 866 USD million. At the same time, in addition to these losses concerned, the total of loans that are owed by the SriLankan Airlines to state banks and state institutions including the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is Rs. 146 million,” Handunnetti has observed.

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