Mihin Lanka gets tender blow with mammoty

By Chandani Kirinde

With the re-launched Mihin Lanka running into a new storm over the resignation of its chairman, the controversial budget carrier has been hit by further bombshell revelations that sent it crashlanding last year.

No tender procedures were followed for the leasing of Mihin Lanka’s three aircraft even though they were contracted for a total of more than Rs. 2.2 billion (US $ 20 million), Parliament was told last week.
The aircraft which were leased between March and May 2007 included an A320 contracted for more than US$ 11 million and paid in monthly instalments of US$ 805,000. An A321 was contracted at US$ 9.2 million and paid in monthly instalments from May to August, 2007 at US$ 962,000 and from September 2007 to March, 2008 at US$ 750,000.

The third aircraft an F-27 was contracted for US$ 597,096 and was paid for on a monthly basis of US$ 25,000 from March 2007 to February 2008 and US$ 45,000 a month from March to September 2008.

There is a balance of US$ 15,681.46 for the A320 aircraft and US$ 17,067 for the A321 as of July 31 last year, Deputy Aviation Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratna told Parliament.

The Government also paid security deposits of US$ 805,000 for the A320, US$ 962,000 for the A 321 and US$ 75,000 for F -27.

The Minister gave the details to Parliament in response to a question raised by JVP frontliner Anura Kumara Dissanayake. The JVP MP said that even to purchase a mammoty, a tender procedure was followed and he wondered why there was no such procedures when millions of dollars were involved.
Mr. Gunaratna said that obtaining an aircraft was not like getting a mammoty and had to be done after a technical committee evaluated the aircraft. He said such a committee had evaluated the aircraft and given a recommendation to the Mihin Lanka directors who decided to lease them,” he said.

Meanwhile Mihin Air Chairman Raja Edirisuriya has sent in his letter of resignation saying he cannot work with other top executives of the airline.

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