The move to employ the fleet of helicopters and aircraft owned by Sri Lanka Air Force has generated a turnover of Rs. 201.5 m during the last year alone, despite giving free rides to a number of VIPs, State Minister for Defense Ruwan Wijewardene informed Parliament, replying to a question asked by Opposition Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila.
Sri Lanka Air Force, which employed its fleet of helicopters and aircraft for private-use after the end of the war, was able to earn this amount for charted flights run from 10 January 2015 till 30 April 2016, it was revealed in Parliament yesterday.
According to the Defence Ministry, 352 flights of 169 individuals and businesses were fully paid. However, the same service was offered free to a large number of VIPs, it was revealed. A separate list has been maintained to record these free rides.
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Arch Bishop Malcom Cardinal Ranjith, Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Minister Faizer Mustafa, Minister John Amaratunga, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka, Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse, Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Minister Harin Fernando, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka and Minister Sarath Fonseka are also on this list, which also contains the names of visiting Foreign Service Chiefs, dignitaries and delegations. (AH)