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Spark Air to fly from Feb. 2021

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When Sri Lanka was having an investor appetite it was some rare occurrence in a time like this that a consortium of local and foreign investors would be launching what would be the country’s first comprehensive airline owned by the private sector. The airline will be named  as “Spark Air”.

“We have already inked agreements to acquire two A 330 aircrafts for the operation which is expected to take wings in early February 2021 after receiving IATA approval. Initially we will be handling cargo,” Head of Safety Management System, Capt. Uditha Danwatte said.

Spark Air will be basing their hub in Mattala Rajapaksa Airport and have already taken space for two hangers and for a cargo storage facility. “We plan to start recruitment by December and will be opening out our sales office in Colombo in January.” he added.

Outlining their plans he said that they will be initially launching flights to Asia and European destinations mainly targeting cargo since passenger operations are too early to commence due to the COVID pandemic, he said

As of now the airline has  identified 15 international destinations to be included in our radar which include Los Angeles. When the pandemic settles we plan to operate as a full service airline mainly targeting new destinations that are currently not serviced from Colombo.” he Danwatte said

He said that the management plans to take the two aircraft on dry lease since over 350 pilots and thousands of experienced airline crew are grounded due to COVID. “Similarly the management thought that this is also the best time to go in for airline leases since the conditions are very favorable.” he added.

A former pilot of the Sri Lanka Air Force with many bravery medals to his credit and then served SriLankan and Mihin Lanka he said that he was disappointed in the manner in which Mihin Lanka was shut down when it showed signs of turning around. “Similarly it was a very imprudent move to pull out Sri Lankan from profit making routes in Europe since most of these flights were operating with nearly 99 percent seat factor.”

Having joined Air Asia after the shutdown of Mihin Lanka he said that it was sad to see so many planes grounded due to the covid pandemic all over the world.

Danwatte together with his son, created aviation history by flying an Air Asia flight to Sri Lanka becoming the only father and son pilot combination to fly a foreign flag carrier to Colombo and back to Kuala Lumpur.

Further, the company is also having a plan to have a managing, repairing and overhauling aircrafts, service center    which is known as MRO project in Sri Lanka , which could provide more than 15000 jobs for the country. At present MRO services are not done in India and we could attract other airlines to offer such services, Danwatte said. 

 

 

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New look Chagall opens at Park Street

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Chagall opened its doors at Parkland on Park Street Colombo 2 , with Gerald Solomons, personally welcoming all his clients and the media to the brand new Chagall. 

Gerald who established Chagall as Sri Lanka’s most elite and fashionable salon, despite the prevailing situation with the pandemic and the existing restrictions, displayed his usual flair and panache, greeting everyone with the socially correct ‘ayubowan’ and ensuring that each and everyone present was made to feel special and welcome.Continuing the bold colour scheme of red, black and white, Gerald like his muse Marc Chagall, has a wide range of styles that can cater to an eclectic clientele.

The artist Chagall saw his work as “not the dream of one people but of all humanity”; similarly Gerald through his salon Chagall would like to transform each and every person who walks in through his door, so that they leave transformed, with a new confidence in themselves and their appearance.

Mrs World Caroline Jurie, clients and well wishers, keeping in mind health guidelines made their way to Chagall at Parkland on October 20 where Gerald and his team reaffirmed their commitment to their clients and the beauty industry, to continue upholding the highest standards and maintain all safety measures and health protocols.

Having established himself and Chagall as the hairdresser / stylist and salon of the elite, Gerald’s doors are open to anyone who wants to look good and different to those around them. ” Our doors are open to everyone who wants to look good, who wants to make a statement and who dares to bedifferent” said Gerald .Manicures, pedicures, long and short hair cuts and styles, make up, facials,bridal dressing, sari drapes and the whole gamut of services will beavailable, all in brand new surroundings.All staff have undergone intensive refresher courses with Gerald beinginvolved in their training himself. 

Known for his cool demeanor and eclectic style, Gerald started hairdressing at the age of 15 having left school, determined to make an impression in the world of hair, beauty and style! He joined  Moira Muthukrishna where hiscareer in hair dressing began and today he is a living legend. Chagall was set up in New Zealand where Gerald lived for over 20 years and then moved back to Sydney where Chagall continued. Gerald has also worked in Hawaii, Australia and London.Chagall.

 

 

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CSE indices pick up as trading yields Rs. 1.09 billion

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The  stock market on Monday suffered a near 2 percent  decline as investors reacted negatively to the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the second wave. Moreover, current investor favourite counters,  Tokyo Cement and Expolanka shares, also slightly declined in trading due to the current situation, market analysts said Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards yesterday. The the All Share Price Index rose by  15.74 points  and the S&P SL 20 Index was up by 8.73 points. The market managed to post Rs. 1.09 billion, safeguarding its track record of over a billion plus turnover for more than a month. But no crossings were reported during the day. 

In the retail market, top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 160 million (3.2 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 187.6 million (7.8 million shares traded), HNB Rs. 99.8 million (881,000 shares traded), Tokyo (Voting) Rs. 86.7 million (1.47 million shares traded) and Dialog Rs. 69.5 million (6.34 million shares traded). During the day  55.3 million share volumes changed hands in 12620 transactions yesterday.

The market also lost Rs. 44 billion in value with blue chips JKH, Carsons, Ceylon Tobacco, Bukit and Distilleries as major contributors to the ASPI’s dip on the previous day.  Some analysts linked the lacklustre trading and sentiment to the quarantine curfew imposed in Fort and Pettah which caused a shutdown of offices and businesses in the area. 

 

 

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Initiative to support startups in Sri Lanka

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Microsoft for Startups recently launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where only 56 startups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15000+ startups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited with global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more.

Innovation is critical to unlocking inclusive economic growth in Asia Pacific; high income economies in the region invest three times more in research and development as compared to their peers. To spur innovative entrepreneurship, Microsoft will work closely with governments and industry partners to discover and nurture technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future.

“At Microsoft, we are working to build up a more supportive ecosystem for startups in Sri Lanka,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurial development to fuel economic growth. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in Sri Lanka to drive digital innovation in the region. We look forward to walking with founders along their growth journey and supporting them to scale and achieve more.”

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