Budget airline facing staff problems
The hastily set up Government-owned budget airline Mihin Air, which is fast running up massive debts, including unpaid fuel bills said to be amounting to Rs. 50 million, is now wracked by staff turmoil.
Aviation sources yesterday revealed that its financial advisor Senaka Chandrasekera left the company early this week and its head of operations Capt. Nihal Gunawardena too had tendered his resignation.
The Sunday Times reliably learns that Capt. Gunawardena will be succeeded by Mr. Atula Dissanayake, a former air traffic controller who recently retired from SriLankan Airlines as Special Projects Manager.The Company set up last October and which began operating flights from March this year has had some very inauspicious encounters beginning with vandals damaging its hoardings on the Katunayake-Colombo highway even before it could get off the ground, followed by its test flight having technical glitches.
According to these sources the airline operating flights to Dubai, Bangkok, Male, Trivanandapuram and Trichi via Colombo with two Airbus A-320 aircraft on wet lease and a staff of about 200, is running up heavy bills.
On Thursday the JVP disclosed in Parliament that the Government owned Lankaputra Bank had invested its assets in Mihin Air.
“What is happening is that Government institutions like the Development Lotteries Board which have deposited funds in the Bank, are pumping money into Mihin. This is public money that is being used, JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake charged.