The Sunday Leader

MR Using Sri Lankan Airlines As His Private Jet

By Nirmala Kannangara

SriLankan is incurring millions in losses due to President Rajapaksa not using regular flights

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is using Sri Lankan Airlines as his private jet forcing the airline to face financial losses, officials at the airline allege.
Well informed sources claim that the airline is incurring millions of rupees in losses solely due to  President Rajapaksa not using regular flights as was done by all previous Presidents..
“It is disheartening to see the manner in which Sri Lankan Airlines aircraft are used by the First Family as if it is their own property. It was shocking that President Mahinda Rajapaksa came back to the country in between his official visit to Thailand recently to attend the wedding of the Livestock and Rural Community Development Minister Arumugam Thondaman’s daughter. He is suing planss as if it is a cab service. We want to know whether the president paid for this personal tour or whether it was borne by the Presidential Secretariat or by the national airline. Further we want to find out as to why the flight in which the President and his entourage flew to London a fortnight ago came back empty without carrying back passengers from Heathrow. These are the losses that the airline incurred, thanks to Rajapaksa family,” the source said. Officials further alleged that attempts to obtain information from the airline management on who was paying for the aircraft in which the President and his entourage travels abroad  had failed.
“The management is silent when these questions are raised. President Rajapaksa is the first Head of State who flew in a separate flight with such a huge entourage. We have seen as to how Presidents J.R. Jayawardene, R. Premadasa and Chandrika Kumaratunge took regular flights when they were President. We are even suspicious if some Bollywood stars were flown down for the Carlton Super Rugby Tournament recently courtesy Sri Lankan Airlines,” sources said.
Officials claimed that it was unfair by the staff who work on 13 rosters (28 days per month) without casual, weekend and Poya leave and lesser annual leave to provide uninterrupted service to the passengers but are not paid for the additional work owing to losses.
“This cannot be continued as although we work hardly without any leave we are not paid for the additional days. Pilots, Cabin Crew, Ground Staff, Technicians and Engineers work 28 days per month. When these days are multiplied by 12 months it clearly shows that these employees have worked for 13 months during a calendar year. Why aren’t we paid for that extra month? The simple reason given was that they cannot afford to pay one month additional salary as they do not have money. If so how can they afford to allow the President to trot all over the world spending SLA money,” sources said.
President Rajapaksa had meanwhile informed officials to pay the airline staff an incentive in December 2009 prior to the 2010 presidential election, sources added.
“We were paid this extra payment as an election gimmick in order to get votes for President Rajapaksa. We termed this payment as ‘General’s Salary’ as if not for Sarath Fonseka we wouldn’t have got this. However we were surprised as to why the other staff categories that do not work 13 rosters too were paid an additional one moth salary. If they were paid a bonus we too would have paid a bonus other than the 13th month salary,” sources added.
Meanwhile the cabin crew is up in arms against the airline management for allowing Sri Lankan stewardess Senali Senanayake to fly one short duration flight per month and the rest of the days to work as the Personal Secretary of Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.
“In addition to these benefits, she is also given all the VVIP flight work as well. Who has given her this authority when the rest of the cabin crew has only 8-10 off days per month? However she is paid by the airline and her service is provided to Namal Rajapaksa. Who has allowed the airline to pay a stewardess to fly only a short duration flight,” sources said.
They further accused the airline management of not taking any disciplinary action against Senanayake after she was found guilty for trying to influence the Human Resources Department to get one of the failed Cadet Pilot applicants recruited.
“She was found guilty for trying to influence the HR department pretending the call was from Namal Rajapaksa’s office. She has u rged the HR department to re-consider the matter. However it was only later that the HR department identified who the caller was. Had this happened to anyone else in the airline, strict disciplinary action would have been taken but in this instance the airline management is silent,” sources added.
The Sunday Leader contacted Lalith Fernando of the airlines Corporate Communications Division on Wednesday for comment on these allegations but no response was received by the time the newspaper went to print.

49 Comments for “MR Using Sri Lankan Airlines As His Private Jet”

  1. Roy

    What is Ranil & Co doing they must be sleeping in the Parliament

  2. Anil

    Dear Ms Kannangara, didn’t you know that Lanka and its wealth belongs to the Rajapaksa’s to use, waste, to build their castles, to prop up their ego, to make their dreams come true, to show off, to use for joy tours, for luxuries in their lives, to buy opponents and otherswho are in their way etc etc and not for 20 million citizens !! Today, your Leader paper says, cancer drugs are in short supply…..are you surprised???Recent article said that Presidential vehicle allocation cost has gone up by 8500% and another Rs 3.02 billion has been spent to buy 2 aircrafts to the airforce for the travelling of the first family.

    It is the wonder of Asia!!

  3. Roy

    What a country if this is true?

  4. randy mathew

    Sadly this is what a third grade shameless family from Medamulana will do. These people are a disgrace to humanity & SL should get rid of these scumbags soon.

  5. nishan


  6. Lal.Fernando

    Corruptions all over.This is a never ending saga.Poor innocent people are sufferring.

  7. Peter Australia

    I say man I am The King Mahinda the First.. I own the land and the people.

    Listen idiots who voted this iditot to power, just for patriotism , bull dust. What a Humbug. he is,

  8. Sunil

    These arseholes should rot in hell!

  9. Peter Fernando


  10. Nimal

    This kind of abuse happened during the UNP times too.It is a national sickness to be corrupt.get together and change it.The chairman of this company is supposed to have smuggled vast sum out of the country and we are not surprised.

  11. Octavia

    Afterall, the people concerned would not have been permitted to act in this manner with the Emirates Management Style.Hence, the switch to Srilankan.
    Who is worried of the losses?

  12. Tomsamusa

    It is the fault of the citizens of sinking lanka to let this happen in past with CBK and now with pakse mafia.
    The people’s attension is tactfully being diverted to “Tamil” problem while the politicians and elites are running amock.

  13. Garawi

    That’s why he got the brother-in-law posted as the head of Sri Lankan air lines so that he obliges and he too makes millions of which 4 miilion in foreign currency and a gold Omega watch worth again 4 million was stolen from his home. Now people raise the question how did he get it and how come the Central Bank allowed him to keep such large amounts of foreign currency at home. Of course, here comes N.Cabraal, another apointee of MR who obliges anybody connected to the King.

  14. dagobert

    Hmmmmmm……. Senali senanayake, hey Namal, what have you got to say??
    Is this the same manner you expect to lead the country one day ??

    If it is, then sadly you are not going to lead the country but lead it astray.

  15. sarath

    we should have a very cordial relationship with other countries. therefore visitng other countries is a must to strengthen the existing bilateral relations. Thailand and Cuba supported SL in the UNHRC last session.
    I think many have forgoten the past. JRJ was the first to use Air Lanka. it was piloted by Capt Wickramanayake who was the chairman. R Premadasa too used AL like his property. When He was the PM in 1988 went to Harare detouring the plane which was schedule go to Europe without informing the passengers. RP was the President only for 4 years and I have no more to recollect.
    For CBK she could not do this as then AL was run by Emirate Air but she went at her own time and not at the sheduled time. some times plane got delayed hours until her late arrival to airport.

  16. LIMA


  17. amith

    Rajapaksha family is ruining this country in an umprecedented manner

  18. soysapura LS

    DICTATORSHIP, Eg. Sadam Hussain, Hitler, Kadaffi, etc…etc…

  19. Kumar Pathirana

    Thank the 18th Amendment!!!

  20. ROHAN

    unuth ekai munuth ekai

  21. Eric

    Do not know where we are heading? politicians will misuse all assets belong to Srilankans and general public will pay dearly. Politics have become so bitter for people of Srilanka and we are slowly becoming one of the most corrupted counties in the world. Is there anyone in our beloved mother land who genuinely care for the country and its people to take us to the future. All politicians in the past and present have just looked after themselves and exploited the assets of the country for their personal benefits just like the foreign occupiers we have over many centuries. We need someone who is truthful, honest and really cares for the country and its people so we can prosper.

  22. MKV


  23. Leslie

    What does it matter after all he is the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka. Unlike the US where there is Airforce 1 for the Presidents travel, obviously our President has to travel in the national carrier. This not something new as previous President, Prime Ministers and even former Presidents daughter too used the airlines to ship her floral shipments as well where virtually the flt were going sans passengers. Therefore there is nothing to hype about.

    • you idiot go to hell

    • randy mathew

      Mate, the problem here is that he is not paying his bills. You cant expect that from a Tsunami hora can you ?

    • hemantha

      Mind You…Mr.Premadasa’s son in law Mr.Rohan Jayakody used schedule flights to transport florals and not the charters flights.sure there was a delay of flights untill those flowers reached Airport From Nuwara Eliya…but still they used the flights which was scheduled to certain destinations..But this story is completely different..Do you approve while the Thai tour MR came back and went on same day from special flight.

  24. Ian D.S

    What else do you expect from a “New Rich” humbug, after all it’s the multitude of joyful people who elected these king size inferiority complex sufferers. The normal flights with the ordinary masses are definitely not for them, oh no, they need an aircraft just for them and the boot lickers who are taken for the joy ride at the “peoples’ expense. After all when you are king you must behave like a king. So hang the losses to the airline. Why was emirates thrown out, because they did not pander to inflated ego,s of swollen headed humbugs, so the were kicked out and replaced with a set of unquestioning relatives and boot lickers who also jumped in to make hay whilst the sun shines.
    Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians are betraying the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we are tired of hearing promises we know they will never keep. Public office is supposed to be public trust, this is a clear sign of the rampant corruption at the highest levels of the government.

    • As far as I can remember, it was the other way around with Emirates Airlines.
      Emirates showed the inefficiency and exposed the cheats of Srilankan airlines and moved out in disgust.

  25. West is best

    In other countries our PM’s have their own pluxury private jets with all the trappings. In third world SL, the corrupt president and his family use the national airline while the more than 80& of the counrry lives under the poverty line.

  26. Rohith

    Idi Amin, Gaddafi and Saddam Hussain in Sri Lanka is Mahinda Rajapakse Family, yes, the ever foolish “Sinhalese” voters keep on selecting this Rajapakse moran,
    SL, you are doomed, becuase of this foolish voters!!!!

  27. Larson

    This is too funny! Everything going down hill very fast. Where is our Sri Lankan spring??

    • Ebenezer Thurairajah

      What’s so funny, Larson ?

      If he’s got to travel, he’s got to travel. SL does not have the luxury of Air Force One, Canada’s Polaris, RAAF’s 737′s or Britannia.. – even the UK uses BA flights when it wants to

      Like many third world countries, using a national carrier flight is the obvious solution

      Don’t be stupid

      • Les Miserables

        What so funny and what you dont want understand is this moronic family is using the few flights we have like three wheelers used by a village family for the family show off needs. Uneducated and newly rich anyway behave in that manner. Nothing wrong with that family but radically something wrong with people like you who are in half coma. Half dead. Basically half baked. This family should be sent on exile.

      • raymond

        Our regime chief could acquire one of the flights and re-name it “By Force One” !!

      • SENSE

        Oh stupid Ebenezer or whatever. Which orifice in your body do you use when speaking ? Aren’t you then seated on your brain ?!

        No wonder that the majority in this fair isle cannot think logically.

  28. xfernando

    Okay, I’m not flying Sri Lankan anymore… If the president’s office can have any “so called pilots” fly hundreds of passengers, putting the safety at risk, then I’m not flying. Quite simply, I don’t want to be one of the names listed as “missing”, in the next Sri Lankan airline crash.

  29. Rajapaksa & family were traveling in bullock carts drawn by buffalows as done by the muslims of Marichukatty/Mullikulam in mannar District. Their favourite food was Kurakkan, now the tide has changed, let them enjoy, you & me will foot the bill as we have no other alternative. I don’t know where they will rot ? hell or heaven ?
    A day will come for them to answer for all their crimes , if not there is no Law of avarages. I wonder the exhistance God ?????????????????

    • Ostrich

      These villagers are experiencing their new found “wealth” at the expense of the SL tax payer.

  30. CD

    Better corruptions are yet to come. This is only the start.

  31. rufus



  32. Gotta the Hero

    Not only the Sinhalese, the Tamils too voted for this scoundrel and his brothers. Look at the parliament today, 80% are thugs, underworld gang leader, rapists, robbers, convicts………..the bloody list goes on. This despotic government to fall soon.

  33. Foreign currency over US $25,000 kept in Sri Lankan Air chairman’s house who is first lady’s brother and the diamond studded Rs.4 million watch given to him as a present by somebody got stolen recently. I have a doubt even Pres. Obama has such a valuable watch or could afford one to give as a gift to somebody. A 300 odd passenger jet is used for president’s personal use. Come on opposition, the members of parliament and the masses. Are you all sleeping or dreaming or simply dead leaving the junta to do whatever he want with the country. Please leave the parliament if someone wants to rule the country on his own wishes. All of you in parliament are responsible for these crimes.Talk a language they understand.

  34. Jay

    Watch, what will happen for Rahul Castro. He touched cursed man’s hand. There will be a problem in Cuba

    Libiya : done
    Parkistn Priminister: done
    Myanmar: done
    Maldives: done
    Sriya: on the way down
    Iran: on the way down
    Australian foreign minister: done

  35. Matalan

    Just cannot comprehend the criticism against the current President and his Globe-trotting. Yes. he does rounds, too often with an entourage of 80+ . And the rounds are exactly what they are – rounds, round the world. But look – he is no millionaire, he has no private jet like P of USA or John Travolta or Tom Cruise.And, he has to keep talking with Heads of State, their families, mistresses, cooks and sundry about how free we are now politically (not economically, of course) after 30 yrs. etc. Isn’t he, His excellency, not spending some time in SL? He does – a few weeks here and a few weeks there may be, but he does. So WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? Shouldn’t you be blaming yourself for electing him with a thumping 60% margin, if he is that bad and guzzling down our hard earned money? As for money, IMF and the WB are there if we run short of cash. Let our President do what he likes and what he is best at – going round and round and ……(talking of which, they all look so very round don’t they?) We are the true suckers!

  36. vintage voter

    WHAT IS THE POINT IN HAVING THE “LADLE” and NOT dishing it to yourself.

  37. samuel

    Why not? Since hes the King, sole proprietor of Sri Lanka. All the rest have to eat the remains after him. If we look at MRs flight schedule even Arab Sultans don’t have it. Tailand-Sri lanka- Tailand- England- Italy- Cuba- Brazil……….. still going on until stars comes to correct place! Imagine how much money could’ve earned with regular flight. He and his king sized bunch of hooligans need a whole flight.No wonder Sri Lanka air lines become loss making entity. As the whole country has become a debt ridden loss making entity under the great leadership of MR. The miracle of asia!

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