Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today announced that the government has decided to absorb the SriLankan Airlines debts amounting to a staggering US$ 3.2 billion, in a last ditch attempt to ‘save’ the country’s national carrier.
Wickremesinghe also said that the government was looking to partner SriLankan with a foreign airline, similar to the deal struck between SriLankan and Emirates, during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s period, in an effort to convert the airline into a profit making venture. The Cabinet has already given Wickremesinghe’s proposal the greenlight.
The decision to absorb the national carrier’s debts comes when the government itself is already saddled with its own debts. In March, Wickremesinghe revealed in Parliament that his government was trapped in an almost Rs. 10 trillion debt, mainly left by the previous administration.
SriLankan which recorded a profit of Rs. 4.4 billion in 2008, took an appalling nosedive having suffered a whopping loss amounting to Rs. 107 billion, when the airline’s administration was under Nishantha Wickramasinghe, the brother-in-law of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.