SriLankan Airlines is spending millions of dollars in refurbishing the seats of its leased aircraft and the airline engineers claim that this is an unwanted expense.
An official from the SriLankan Engineers Union told the Daily News that over 600 seats were imported to be installed in the leased aircraft for what is said to improve, ‘cabin appearance’
However when Thai Airways and several other airlines had engaged in the same process they had overcome the problem in an cost effective manner simply by adding a new decorated cover to the existing seat.
The union member said that the mockery of this whole exercise is that these seats are being added to leased aircraft and when the lease is over they have to be replaced with the original seats once again.
The airline has now also taken a huge yard in Seeduwa and is stocking these old seats until such time they have to be re fitted to the aircraft when the lease is over.
“The airline is paying huge sums to up keep this yard in Seeduwa which is only used for stacking old seats,”he said.
The unions points out that if they wanted better seats that should have been negotiated at the point of obtaining the lease.Meanwhile eye brows are also being raised as to why a particular aircraft (A320 4R-ABK) which is ending its lease in a few months time is being refurbished spending millions of rupees.
“This aircraft is to be now run by INDIGO airlines and it is being fitted with all new parts belonging to SriLankan which need not be done.”
The engineers say that whenever an INDIGO aircraft comes for a mechanical test to Colombo (C Check) all top engineers at SriLankan come and personally give it preferential treatment.
Meanwhile the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS) branch of SriLankan Airlines has said that they would resort to trade union action if they are not updated on the latest developments on the sale of the airline and have asked for an opportunity to meet President Maithripala Sirisena.
President SLNSS, Janaka Wijayapathiratne told Daily News that they want this meeting with the President because conflicting messages are being given by Ministers as well as top decision makers of the airline. He said that the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines says that he does not know anything about these developments and to ask the Government.
Ten companies placed their bids for a stake in SriLankan Airlines and three investors Peace Air which has links in Sri Lanka, Maldivian based Super Group and US based TPG group were short listed