SriLankan Airlines has explored all business opportunities to keep the Airline afloat in the backdrop of a dramatic global drop in demand for passenger air transport, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage said issuing a press statement yesterday.
“Globally the airline industry has experienced a decrease in capacity of approximately 60% to 80% due to the Covid-19 pandemic with containment measures in place. SriLankan Airlines experienced a revenue reduction of 70% during the financial year 2020/21 compared to the year before,” he states.
Following are some excerpts from SriLankan Airlines chairman’s statement.
“We have introduced several measures to ensure every function of the business remain fully operational to grab every business opportunity. As new variants emerge, we are carefully monitoring the situation and we will constantly reassess our strategic plans and adjust accordingly.”
“Despite ongoing border restrictions and airport closures, we have continued to fulfill our obligations as the national carrier by sustaining global trade and repatriating stranded Sri Lankans; 74,032 passengers were repatriated from 229 flights between April 2020 to March 2021. From April to June 2021, 35,612 passengers were repatriated using our scheduled flights. We also adapted to meet the increased demand for transportation of air cargo, resulting from the suspension of flights to Sri Lanka by other carriers.”
“We will be resuming flights to the Russian capital, Moscow this July, with a weekly scheduled flight between BIA and Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Using an Airbus A330 configured for 269 economy and 28 business class seats, we will not only facilitate travel but will be the impetus for building closer bilateral business connections between the two countries.”
“Despite the massive impact on global tourism, the airline opted to strategically steer into cargo operations. Our existing fleet was sufficient to cater to cargo operation and the limited passenger operations. The wide-body fleet was used prominently for cargo operations while the majority of the narrow-body fleet was kept grounded due to lack of utilization for passenger services. The expansion of our cargo operations strategically reduced the adverse effects of passenger travel.”
“The present schedule consists of a network optimizing passenger and cargo contributions to over 29 destinations. New destinations in the present schedule include Sydney, Incheon, and Nairobi with Frankfurt and Moscow to commence by the end of July. Over 60% of the uplifted capacity was allocated to local exports to ensure a continuous foreign currency inflow to Sri Lanka in the hope of strengthening the domestic export segment. SriLankan Airlines operated 3,039 scheduled flights and 165 cargo charters/ non-scheduled operations for uplifting Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and essential goods connecting the Far East, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Europe, and the Middle East since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic from April 2020 to June 2021. Cargo Flights carrying a tonnage of 77M Kgs supporting the national economy.”
“We managed to bring down the cash burnout substantially by approximately 44% through re-negotiating aircraft lease contracts to achieve both lease rent reductions and deferrals, employee-related cost savings, implementing a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), restructuring the organization to make it leaner, cross utilized the existing cadre and job amalgamations, ceasing external recruitments other than for operationally critical vacancies, reviewing unproductive policies and practices. However, the cash burn is forecasted to continue until at least the end of this year, as we expect continued severe revenue losses from the aviation industry.”
We have taken many steps precautionary measures to ensure the safety of passengers when flying with us. Our efforts were recognised by Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) with a diamond rating, and we pride ourselves as the only airline to receive such a rating in South Asia.”
“We expect that many countries will open their borders for air travel by the end of the year, enabling us to recommence our commercial passenger operations and begin our journey towards recovery. We will constantly reassess our plans based on the evolving nature of the crisis with appropriate adjustments. The future of SriLankan Airlines lies in rebounding passenger travel both in numeric and caliber. All our periodic targets are contingent on international air travel being restored,” says Ashok Pathirage.
SLT-MOBITEL donates fourth PCR machine to Matara District Hospital
Recognising the importance to enhance Sri Lanka’s PCR testing capacity to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and to protect citizens, SLT-MOBITEL continues its support by donating yet another vital PCR machine to the District General Hospital in Matara recently.
The donation of the PCR machine valued at over Rs. 5.7 million is part of SLT-MOBITEL’s ‘Sabandiyawe Sathakaraya’ CSR initiative in further strengthening the nation’s healthcare systems and assisting communities in need.
The equipment was handed over to the Deputy Director of the Matara Hospital Doctor Upali Rathnayaka in the presence of Rohan Fernando, Group Chairman, SLT-MOBITEL; Lalith Seneviratne, Group Chief Executive Officer, SLT-MOBITEL; Kiththi Perera, CEO, SLT; Shashika Senarath, CMO, Mobitel along with Regional GM, SLT; Regional Head – Mobitel and Hospital Staff.
Previously, PCR machines were donated to the Base Hospital, Karawanella, District General Hospital, Matale and the University Hospital of the Kotelawala Defense University. SLT-MOBITEL appreciates the support received from all Sri Lankans towards ‘Daana Paaramitha’ which was conceptualized as a platform to further increase community involvement in carrying out relief efforts to support families affected by the pandemic.
Extension of lockdown negatively impacts CSE
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE trading activities commenced yesterday in a lacklustre manner with little share-buying interest and later on became negative following the government’s announcement on the lockdown extension until October 1, stock market analysts said.
The Colombo International Financial Centre (CIFC) at the Port City was set to commence this month and has been delayed until December owing to the current Covid 19 situation. This also affected CSE trading activities yesterday, analysts said.
Consequently, the stock market lost steam yesterday, closing on a negative note as investor sentiment remained erratic due to internal and external environmental factors. Both indices moved downwards or to negative territory despite healthy turnover in the market. The All Share Price Index went down by 46.09 points and S and P SL20 declined by 17.93 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.8 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Expolanka, where 600,000 shares crossed for Rs. 101.1 million, its shares trading at Rs. 158.50 and Sampath Bank one million shares crossed for Rs. 49.5 million, its shares traded at Rs. 49.50.
In the retail market, some companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Holdings Rs. 1.2 billion (7.4 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 604 million (4.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 540 million (58.3 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs. 204 million (2 million shares traded).
It is said that following two sessions of gains, the indices closed in the red due to price declines in large-cap stocks as investors opted to book modest returns after the recent sharp rally. Stocks such as Expo, LOLC, and JKH, which saw sharp gains in the past two sessions witnessed profit-taking at higher levels and weighed on the momentum throughout the session.
Further, high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Sampath Bank. Mixed interest was observed in Expolanka Holdings, Tokyo Cement Company and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, Lanka Orix Finance and Industrial Asphalts. During the day 153 million share volumes changed hands in 24000 transactions.
As of yesterday, the current exchange rate of 1 US dollar was equal to 199.607 Sri Lankan rupees. This is an increase of 7.856656 percent (or +14.5401 LKR) compared with the same time last year (17 September 2020), when 1 US dollar equaled 185.067 Sri Lankan rupees.
Lockdown takes toll on Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector activities
The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2021 has slowed down the manufacturing activities in the country. Accordingly, the manufacturing PMI recorded an index value of 45.1 in August 2021 with a fall of 12.7 index points from the previous month, mainly driven by the decrease in New Orders, Production, Employment, and Stock of Purchases sub-indices. The decline in New Orders and Production, especially in the manufacture of food & beverages, furniture, and textiles & wearing apparel sectors, have mainly contributed to the overall decrease of the manufacturing PMI. Many respondents in those sectors highlighted that their local orders and distribution channels were affected due to the lockdown imposed as a measure of containing the pandemic. Further, many of them also emphasised that factory operations were disrupted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus among employees. Employment sub-index also declined in line with these developments.
The decrease of Stock of Purchases was in line with the decline in New Orders and Production. Further, the difficulties encountered in placing purchase orders and in settling foreign payments also adversely affected the supply chain of raw materials and production schedules. Many respondents stressed that the continuous increase in the cost of imported raw materials adversely affected their profit margins. Meanwhile, Suppliers’ Delivery Time lengthened at a slower rate in August 2021. The manufacturers cautioned that the uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic would continuously hinder the prospects of the manufacturing sector, yet, overall expectations for manufacturing activities for the next three months remained above the neutral threshold.
Services PMI dropped to an index value of 46.2 in August 2021 with the restrictions imposed to contain the further spread of the COVID-19. New Businesses, Business Activity, Employment and Expectations for Activity sub-indices recorded declines. New Businesses decreased in August compared to the previous month mainly with the declines observed in wholesale and retail trade, insurance, real estate, and education sub-sectors. Business Activities across most of the sub-sectors such as, wholesale and retail trade, real estate, insurance and other personal activities reported considerable declines indicating the adverse effects of travel restrictions on their business operations. Nevertheless, transportation sub-sector recorded some improvements solely due to the growth in freight volumes. Moreover, financial services sub-sector also indicated improvements despite the disturbances from travel restrictions. Employment continued to fall at a higher pace as retirements and voluntary resignations exceeded the number of recruitments carried out during the month. Backlogs of Work increased at a higher pace in August along with the reduction in staff availability amid travel restrictions and growing COVID-19 infections of staff. (CBSL)
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