Industrial Exports, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga categorically stated yesterday that SriLankan Airlines will not be sold under any circumstances, but it’s loses will be minimized and new investments made. The Minister further said the former Yahapalana government tried to allow SriLankan Airlines die a natural death and sell it for a song. However, the present government after it came into power on November 17 took steps to halt all these efforts.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga was speaking while participating on an inspection tour of the SriLankan Airlines premises in Katunayake yesterday.
There was a discussion between the Minister, high ranking officials and trade union leaders of SriLankan Airlines. It was revealed during the meeting that SriLankan Airlines had recorded a loss of only 76 billion rupees during the 10 year period from 2005 to 2015. But, the losses incurred by SriLankan Airlines increased to Rs.115 billion within just four and a half years from 2015 to 2019 under the so-called Yahapalana regime.
Minister Ranatunga also noted that although, there was a strategic business plan to make SriLankan Airlines a profitable organization during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era, there was no such a plan during the last five years. If the plan introduced by the Rajapaksa regime was implemented, we could have reduced the losses. When the previous government wanted to cancel the aircraft purchasing agreement, the particular Airbus company imposed three conditions. One is paying compensation of 110 billion US dollars. However, at that time, the cost of the brand new aircraft was only 138 billion US dollars,” the minister added.