ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 2, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 40

Let those who know to fly take wing

It is with disgust that we read that another "Budget" Airline (RAK Airlines) has been permitted to operate into Sri Lanka while the three private airlines approved by a "high level" Government appointed committee to operate out of Sri Lanka have not been given permission to start operations in order that a dubious Government Airline - Mihin Lanka can survive.

The question that should be asked is - how is it possible for an airline (Mihin) that says it has over 80% load factor to still lose money? The answer is very simple -"Wet Lease" aircraft at well above market rates. We do not want to make any accusations of why such high lease payments are made without any facts but we leave it to the readers imagination to figure that one out! Normally aircraft are "Wet Leased" for short periods to cater for expansion or short term capacity needs but not for the entirety of the operation as is being done by Mihin.

Expansion of the Sri Lanka aviation industry has been stifled and the revenue that could be made by the country is being handed on a platter to foreign "budget" airlines such as Air India Express, Air Arabia and now RAK Airlines while the local operators are not allowed to commence operations in order to protect the pet project of a "blue eyed" crony of the Powers-that-be who does not have any aviation background but access to the deep pockets of the Public Purse.

If the Government is interested in the development of aviation in Sri Lanka, let the private sector do the job that the Government has consistently failed to do successfully as evinced by three failed national airlines and one failing national budget airline.

By Capt. Menaka Fernando Via e mail

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