Sri Lankan Airlines to be sold off, new PM says.

After less than a month of the debate and criticism for the state-owned carrier Sri Lankan, the newly elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, decided to pull-off the plug on the national carrier.

Last month, Sri Lankan came under fire from government and parliament for planning to lease 21 aircraft. The reasons and motives for leasing the new aircraft where questioned in a parliament probe later in April. read more

a member of parliament from the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) alliance, Harsha de Silva, in a twitter post, described that as a "Joke", especially that the airline reported a loss of $140.90 million in the previous year. 

"Sri Lanka is bankrupt; no fuel, gas or medicine. Where the hell is money for this nonsense coming from?! Better immediately clarify.” said the parliament member. read more

“It should not be that this loss has to be borne by the poorest of the poor who have not set foot in an aircraft,”  said the new Prime Minister.

In 2010, when things were blooming, the government in Colombo bought back stake in Sri Lankan Airlines previously sold to Emirates.

The national carrier, which has a fleet of 25 Airbus planes, flies to destinations in Europe, the Middle East as well as South and Southeast Asia.

Sri Lankan Airlines, which joined the Oneworld alliance and became a nominal Qantas partner in 2014, only recently increased flights to Sydney and Melbourne as the carrier rebuilds its post-pandemic network.

Melbourne, which is home to Australia's largest Sri Lankan community, now sees a daily Sri Lankan Airline service as of May 7, with Sydney toggling up to five weekly flights from May 14.

From is home hub of Colombo the airline flies many passengers onwards to key cities in India including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.

As previously reported, Qantas already flies from Melbourne to Delhi and will add Sydney-Bangalore flights from September 14.

Less than a week into the job, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he was forced to print money to pay salaries, which will pressure the nation’s currency.

The nation has only one day’s stock of gasoline and the government is working to obtain dollars in the open market to pay for three ships with crude oil and furnace oil that have been anchored in Sri Lankan waters, Wickremesinghe said.

“The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives,” Wickremesinghe said. “We must immediately establish a national assembly or political body with the participation of all political parties to find solutions for the present crisis.”

Article by Aero News Journal Team

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