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Emirates returns US$ 1.4 billion to customers in refunds

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Emirates reveals that is has returned over AED 5 billion (US$ 1.4 billion) in COVID-19 related travel refunds to date, making strong and steady progress on its commitment to customers to complete pending refunds.

‘More than 1.4 million refunds requests have been completed since March, representing 90% of the airline’s backlog. This includes all requests received from customers around the world up until the end of June, save for a few cases which require further manual review,an Emirates press release said.

The release adds – ‘Since the pandemic hit, Emirates has invested additional resources to ramp up its processing capability. The airline also continues to work with industry partners to facilitate refunds for those who have booked their Emirates flights through travel agents, this includes enabling direct refunds processing via global booking systems (GDS).

‘Sir Tim Clark, president Emirates Airline said: “We understand that from our customers’ standpoint, each pending refund request is one too many. We are committed to honouring refunds and are trying our utmost to clear the massive and unprecedented backlog that was caused by the pandemic. Most cases are straightforward, and these we will process quickly. But there are cases which will take a bit more time for our customer teams to manually review and complete. We are grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding.”

‘As global travel markets slowly re-open, Emirates has gradually restarted its passenger operations around the world, always ensuring that it provides customers with a safe and smooth travel experience.

‘The airline has introduced a series of industry-leading initiatives to provide customers with additional reassurance and confidence when they travel – from bio-safety measures at every step of their journey, to free COVID-19 medical cover, and flexible booking policies.

‘Emirates currently offers flights to over 80 cities. Customers can stop over or travel to Dubai as the city has re-opened for international business and leisure visitors. Ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, COVID-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound and transit passengers arriving to Dubai (and the UAE), including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from.

‘Destination Dubai: From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai is one of the most popular global destinations. In 2019, the city welcomed 16.7 million visitors and hosted over hundreds of global meetings and exhibitions, as well as sports and entertainment events. Dubai was one of the world’s first cities to obtain the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.’

Flexibility and assurance: Emirates’ booking policies offer customers flexibility and confidence to plan their travel. Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket by 30 September 2020 for travel on or before 30 November 2020, can enjoy generous rebooking terms and options, if they have to change their travel plans due to unexpected flight or travel restrictions relating to COVID-19, or when they book a Flex or Flex plus fare.

Free, global cover for COVID-19 related costs: Customers can now travel with confidence, as Emirates has committed to cover COVID-19 related medical expenses, free of cost, should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel while they are away from home. This cover is immediately effective for customers flying on Emirates until 31 October 2020 (first flight to be completed on or before 31 October 2020), and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey. This means Emirates customers can continue to benefit from the added assurance of this cover, even if they travel onwards to another city after arriving at their Emirates destination. For more details: www.emirates.com/COVID19assistance.

Health and safety: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. For more information on these measures and the services available on each flight, visit: www.emirates.com/yoursafety.



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Business

Union Assurance crowns excellence

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Union Assurance PLC held the Annual Awards 2021 to honour its top achievers for their exemplary performance. The ceremony was held at the Monarch Imperial on 8th May 2022, under the theme ‘Crowning Excellence.’ This event, which crowned the champions, was graced by a distinguished leadership team that included Chairman of John Keells Holdings, Krishan Balendra , and Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance, Jude Gomes.

The awards ceremony recognised the exceptional performance of over 670 award winners, making it the highest number of annual award winners in the Company’s history, a feat driven by a record-breaking performance in 2021. The winners comprised advisors, agency leaders, regional managers, and zonal managers from the island-wide Agency network. The top achievers in the Agency channel (including Best Zone and Best Region) were honoured, while the Ultimate Champion Kalum Jayasinghe was rewarded with a flashy Mercedes-Benz car. Chanaka Appuhamy was also presented with a Mercedes-Benz for his Top of the Table Club achievement.

The CEO of Union Assurance, Jude Gomes lauded the winners for delivering outstanding results. He described their achievements as remarkable since 2021 was full of challenges arising from the pandemic.

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Paduma Subasinghe appointed Director Human Resources at Heineken Lanka

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Paduma Subasinghe has assumed duties as Director Human Resources of HEINEKEN Lanka Limited. He joins a distinguished panel of Management Team members at HEINEKEN Lanka headed by Managing Director Maud Meijboom-van Wel.

Prior to joining HEINEKEN Lanka, Paduma served as the Director Human Resources in one of the fastest growing export companies in Sri Lanka. His exposure in HR spans across large-scale conglomerates, telecommunication MNCs and consultancy with HR agility being at the core of his forte. Paduma’s versatility befits the transformational journey that HEINEKEN Lanka is on; setting bold ambitions that Challenge the Status Quo with the Courage to Dream and Pioneer whilst Caring for People and Planet to bring forth the joy of true togetherness.

A product of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (PIM), his postgraduate studies were focused on Human Resources, and he is a Senior Certified Professional of the International Public Management Association for HR, USA. Paduma is also a member of Rotary International and plays a pivotal role in community service through his active involvement in the organisation.

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Richard Pieris Finance announces resilient performance for FY 2021/22

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Richard Pieris Finance Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of the Richard Pieris Group, and the sole financing arm under the renowned Arpico brand, delivered solid financial performance for the Financial Year 2021/22, amidst a challenging economic backdrop. Supported by the Company’s committed workforce and prudent management strategies, Richard Pieris Finance’s profit before taxes (PBT) rose by a notable 283% to Rs. 444 Mn, compared to prior year. The company also saw revenues growing by 16% to Rs.2,441 Mn during the period. The Company’s deposit base and asset base too grew during the year to Rs.9,910 Mn and Rs.17,927 Mn respectively.

Discussing the achievements and milestones of the year, Lohika Fonseka, CEO at Richard Pieris Finance Limited said, “We are pleased to inform all our stakeholders that the management of Richard Pieris Finance Limited has successfully guided the Company through some of the most challenging times our nation has ever faced. We intend continuing this trajectory, building on our achievements. Supported by our digital drive, the company obtained the membership in CEFTS and JustPay during the year to further customer convenience. Also, we have introduced several new products including pawning to expand our portfolio. Furthermore, taking our plans to fruition, we have upgraded three outlets as fully-fledged branches during 2021/22 to provide a better service to our valuable customers. During the year, Richard Pieris Group infused Rs. 280 Mn of equity capital for strengthening the company’s Tier-1 capital base and the company successfully concluded a debt capital infusion of Rs. 1 Bn to improve the Tier-2 capital base, which positioned the company well above its peers in terms of capital adequacy. While maintaining stability and resilience, we look forward to continuing our business expansion as we pivot and position to tackle the challenges ahead, while always focusing on customer convenience.”

Underscoring the stability and strength of Richard Pieris Finance Limited, the Company has been assessed with the coveted AA-(RWN) from Fitch Ratings Lanka Limited, one of Sri Lanka’s premier credit rating agencies. The Company appointed Kithsiri Wanigasekara as the Chairman who is a veteran professional in the financial services industry together with Shantha Wijeweera, Kithsiri Wijeyaratne, Asoka Keppetipola and Kelum Senanayake to guide and support the Corporate Management team, to navigate the present turbulent economic environment skilfully and effectively. The corporate management team of Richard Pieris Finance Limited comprises of financial industry professionals in multiple disciplines including veteran bankers and legal professionals. Operating within a resilient corporate governance structure while maintaining robust internal controls relating to risk management, compliance and further supported by digital transformation, Richard Pieris Finance Limited is confident on maintaining its growth momentum in future.

Richard Pieris Finance Limited provides Sri Lankans with a full-range of financial products and services including fixed deposits, savings, leasing, Islamic finance, business loans, personal loans, pawning, furniture financing and digital finance solutions. The Richard Pieris Group is a diversified business conglomerate with a rich history spanning over 90 years, having its arms spread across multiple sectors including manufacturing, plantations, financial services, exports, FMCG, logistics and retail. Its flagship brand, “Arpico Supercentres” is one of the most powerful local household brands in Sri Lanka for over 50 years, serving the community with a diverse range of products. A melting pot of talent, home to a workforce of over 27,000 people, Richard Pieris and Company PLC is one of the largest employers in Sri Lanka’s private sector.

 

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