The current president made this claim while he was the Prime Minister. To evaluate the claim, FactCheck.lk consulted the SriLankan Airlines (SLA) Annual Reports from 2007 to 2021. Each annual report gives the profits and losses for a financial year, which runs from April to March.
The annual report for the 2020/21 financial year (April 2020 to March 2021) reports that SLA has a loss of LKR 45.39 billion in the financial year, and that the resulting accumulated losses of SLA were LKR 371.73 billion. These figures provided by SLA are in line with the President’s claim (see Exhibit 1).
Therefore, we classify his statement as TRUE.
*FactCheck.lk’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck.lk will revisit the assessment.
Exhibit 1: SLA’s Losses from 2008 – 2021 (LKR mn)
Source: SriLankan Airlines (SLA) Annual Reports from 2007 to 2021
*Accumulated losses adjusted in 2014 from 22,789.94 for 2012 and 44,606.16 for 2013 due to change in accounting policy on accounting for major overhauls and upgrades of aircrafts.
**Adjusted in 2020 from 230,590.07 following adoption of Sri Lanka’s accounting standard for leases.
*** “Other Comprehensive Income/(Loss)” also recognises unrealised gains and losses.
SLA has not made a profit since the 2007/08 financial year. By 31 March 2021, SLA’s total liabilities were LKR 443.65 billion, while its total assets were LKR 154.38 billion. The Mid-Year Fiscal Position Report 2022 by the Ministry of Finance records a loss of LKR 248 billion for SLA from January – April 2022. That includes an exchange loss of LKR 145 billion in March 2022.
The annual reports of SriLankan Airlines
Mid-Year Fiscal Position Report 2022 of the Ministry of Finance