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No government kept commitment on SriLankan Airlines, says industry veteran

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The situation in SriLankan Airlines has deteriorated to its present level as successive governments failed to keep the commitment they had stated publicly, to turn around the struggling airline with necessary reforms, veteran aviator Capt. Milinda Ratnayake said.

He made this remark at a webinar hosted by Advocata Institute recently, with a view to promoting sound policy ideas for Sri Lanka.

Capt. Ratnayake’s illustrious career has spanned over 40 years in Air Ceylon, Air Lanka and SriLankan Airlines, and he has clocked over 15,000 hours of flying passenger aircraft, Besides his flying career, he possesses a wealth of managerial experience in the aviation industry.

“We are an island nation. So we do need an airline because we can’t always ask for help from neighbouring countries in emergency times or for other vital aviation needs. And we do need an airline for Sri Lanka Tourism too. But the question is how do we run our airline without making it a burden on the national economy, or at least at a breakeven if profits can’t be made. I know that all the governments in the last few decades came to power with an avowed commitment to turning SriLankan Airlines into a profitable organisation. A new government would come and appoint a new chairman, a new CEO, a new marketing team etc and they get the ball rolling to run things efficiently and productively. And then after sometime the government would come and say that they want the Airline to go to a new destination, and the Airline’s management team is back to the drawing board because they can’t refuse a request made by the government even though it is not a sound request in terms of business. This sort of government interventions have been the main and constant source of discontinuity in prudent operational management of the Airline.”

Responding to a question whether Tim Clark, the legendary managing director of Sri Lankan Airlines (when a 40% stake in SriLankan Airlines was owned by Emirates) knew a secret or two to run an airline profitably, Capt. Ratnayake replied, “During that time the board had appointed qualified personnel who could find employment anywhere in the world. Tim Clark would personally oversee the purchase of a new plane for the fleet. SriLankan Airline Board once decided to purchase four or five A350 aircraft without seeking the views of Finance, Engineering, Flight Operations, Sales, Cabin Crew etc. to ascertain all aspects of the viability of the purchase. When a TriStar was purchased during Capt Rakitha Wickramanayake\s time, the decision went through five committees to study whether the specifications of the plane would align with the purpose of purchasing it.”

“Four years ago, we decided to start flights to England, Germany, France and several other European destinations and each of these flights incurred a loss of USD 10,000. How can we run an airline sustainably on such an ad hoc model?

“An airline can’t be run on one’s whims and fancies. It has to have a proper a return on investment (ROI) plan. Even a men’s barbershop has one,” he said.



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Sri Lanka Tourism introduces e-learning platform for all SLTDA registered tourist guides.

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As an initiative to uplift the reviving tourism industry in the country, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in collaboration with Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) have introduced the continuous professional development (CPD) e-learning platform to all registered guides to enhance their knowledge and skills.

The launch of the continuous professional development (CPD) e-learning platform took place this week under the patronage of Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga, Secretary of the Ministry S. Hettiarachchi and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando.

“Tourist guides play an important role in our tourism sector as they spend a lot of time with visitors from arrival to departure. It is important that our guides stay updated on their professional/technical knowledge and I hope this e-learning platform by Sri Lanka Tourism will help them enhance their knowledge and skills” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando shared while the Minister congratulated all the officials who were involved in bringing this initiative to reality.

Knowledge improvement, obtaining expertise knowledge from veterans, develop active participation with guests, improve the link between Tourism institutions & guides are some key objectives of this e-learning platform.

If you are a registered guide with SLTDA, you can now sign up on https://sltda.gov.lk/e-learning/login and avail of the online courses.

A certificate of completion will be given at the end of the course from SLTDA and SLITHM.

 

 

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Impact of Climate Change on marine and fresh water resources and combating water pollution

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Trilateral virtual dialogue among Pathfinder Foundation, Russian International Affairs Council and Asian Confluence

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has initiated a trilateral dialogue involving Sri Lanka, India and the Russian Federation to discuss issues of contemporary relevance. The first trilateral dialogue will be held to day 4:30 PM SLST on the “Impact of Climate Change on Marine and Fresh Water Resources and Combating Water Pollution: Best Practices from Russia, Sri Lanka and India”.

For this dialogue, Pathfinder Foundation will be partnering with Russian International Affairs Council and Asian Confluence.

The distinguished panellists for the webinar are, Ambassador GlebIvashentsov, Vice President, Russian International Affairs Council, Ambassador (Retd.) Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman Pathfinder Foundation, Ambassador. IFS(Retd.) Rajiv Kumar Bhatia, Member Governing Council, The Asian Confluence and Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House,Dr. Anastasia Likhacheva, Director, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Higher Schoolof Economics, Dr. B. V. R. Punyawardena, Chairman, National Steering Committee on Climate Change Adaptation, Governmentof Sri Lanka, Dr. Fraddry D’Souza, Area ConvenerandFellow, The Coastal Ecology & Marine Resources Centre, TERI Goa,India , Dr. Konstantin Zgurovsky, Senior Advisor, Marine Programme, WWF Russia, Mr. Sarath Premalal, Retired Director General of Meteorology of Sri Lanka and Prof. Vinay Kumar Dadhwal, Director, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Professor Indira Gandhi Chair, National Institute of Advanced Studies, India

Those who are interested in participating may kindly register at the following link; https://bit.ly/3AZbYAN Program details are available at https://bit.ly/3zdUkY3 . The event will also be live streamed on the PF Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pathfinderfoundation/

 

 

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Doc990 and MyDoctor partner SLVA to extend accessible veterinary services islandwide

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Sri Lanka’s premier digital health solutions service providers, Doc990 and MyDoctor are now enabling customers to access online veterinary services island-wide in partnership with the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association.

The national professional body serving and representing the interests of the veterinary profession in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association (SLVA), is dedicated to providing continued excellence within the profession of animal medicine and the provision of outstanding care for all animals while also actively creating public awareness of the contribution of veterinarians island-wide.

This collaborative effort with Doc990 and MyDoctor will bring pet owners, owners of farm animals and good Samaritans the ability to access remote video consultations with leading, specialist veterinarians of their choosing, without the hassle of physically entering hospital waiting rooms, transporting animals etc. This timely, contactless service will not only be convenient but also a relief to pet owners and caretakers in the backdrop of travel restrictions as a result of the ongoing global pandemic.

Customers can engage in video consultations with their chosen vet by downloading the Doc990 mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Through its widening network of hospitals and medical services, Doc990 strives to make health care accessible and convenient for all Sri Lankans.

 

 

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