President to take up SriLakan issue at next NEC meeting

President Maithripala Sirisena is to take up the subject of SriLankan Airlines at the next meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC).

The decision comes in the wake of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga’s joint Cabinet Paper last month to establish a budget airline working closely with the Malaysian Air Asia group,said Co-Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne yesterday.

Minister Dr.Senaratne having berated the Chairman and CEO of SriLankan Airlines at the weekly Cabinet media briefing stated that the government continued to pump in finances to the airline only in the hope that the management could turn things around.

“These losses however were started when the previous regime kicked out Emirates and handed the airline over to the brother-in-law of the former the President. Now there needs to be complete restructuring from top to bottom to turn things around,” Dr.Senarane said.

A decision on the airline would have to be made given the current losses, amounting to Rs.27.79 billion for the 2016-2017 financial year alone. The Minister noted that by the next financial year ending in March 2018, a decision on the national carrier would be made. 

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