SriLankan losses mount due to negligence

By Ravi Ladduwahetty

Sheer negligence by the management of SriLankan Airlines has led to heavy losses. Adding to the country’s national carrier’s financial woes, lightning recently struck a new building housing its simulator school at Katunayake, causing millions of rupees in losses, according to informed aviation sources.

They said the bolt of lightning which struck the mainly glass structure knocked out the simulator for about a week. The airline had to get down technicians and spares from abroad to restore the facility at great cost.

During this period, in addition to meeting the cost of restoring it, the airline had to pay the rental on the simulator, said to be in the region of about USD 5,000 per day without earning a cent from it.

Sources charged that the building completed less than a year ago for the simulator school to be launched in October last year, had not been provided with a suitable lightning deflector.

Last Saturday we also reported the massive loss incurred by the airline when an Airbus-A340’s tail was dropped on the ground during servicing by inexperienced trainees in the absence of adequate number of qualified technicians. The loss on the damage caused to the aircraft is said to be in the region of USD 40 million.

Meanwhile, SriLankan sent us the following e-mail last night explaining its position on the lightning strike on the simulator building: "SriLankan Airlines wishes to state that necessary precautionary measures are taken for protection of its facilities and clarifies that lightning and surge protectors are installed in its Simulator building. As queried, there was no damage to the main glass structure or the simulator recently, however, an IT data switch was brought down from the Netherlands and the switch was replaced by the airline’s in-house Simulator team, incurring no cost to the airline".

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